Will Packer (producer)
April 11, 1974
St. Petersburg, Florida
|Education||St. Petersburg High School|
|Alma mater||Florida A&M University|
|Occupation||Film producer, businessman|
|Notable work||Produced Think Like a Man, Obsessed, Ride Along, About Last Night|
|Spouse(s)||Nina Packer (2001 - 2009)|
Will Packer (born April 11, 1974) is an American filmmaker and producer. He is the founder of Will Packer Productions.
Life and career
William Packer was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1991, he graduated from St. Petersburg High School. In 1996 he graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. It was there that he began filmmaking with colleague and future business partner Rob Hardy. Participating in an internship with veteran producer Warrington Hudlin propelled Packer toward the helm of self-financed and distributed films he would later go on to produce.
After graduating from college Packer moved to Atlanta, Georgia, which would soon become the birthplace of Rainforest Films, co-founded in 1994. Until 2013, he produced and oversaw the company's studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects.
Packer and Hardy's vision was to make films that would appeal to black audiences who hadn't seen genre films starring people like themselves. In 1994 Packer and Hardy produced their first film Chocolate City. The film did relatively well and earned them a small distribution deal.
Trois, the company's first movie to be released theatrically, grossed over $1.2 million and became the fastest million-dollar grossing film distributed by African Americans. Due to the success of this film William and Rob were listed amongst the "New Establishment" of Black Power Brokers in Hollywood.
“This achievement landed Rainforest Films at the # 34 spot of Top 100 Film Distributors of 2000 listed by The Hollywood Reporter (August 2001), and resulted in the picture being in the Top 50 Highest Grossing Independent Films of the year according to Daily Variety (July 30, 2001).
In 2001, Packer brokered a very profitable deal with Sony's Columbia Tri-Star to produce and distribute urban films including but not limited to, Trois 's sequel Trois: The Escort, and Motives . The film Lockdown, released under this Rainforest Columbia Tri-star collaboration, was one of Columbia Tri-Star's top selling independent releases. In 2005, Rainforest Films released The Gospel. At this time, Packer started using the shortened moniker "Will Packer".
Rainforest films include established actors and actresses as well as those who are up and coming. This Christmas, a film about a middle-class family that reunites at Christmas time for the first time in many years which opened a strong No. 2 at the box office on Thanksgiving weekend in 2007, stars veteran actresses Loretta Devine and Regina King, as well as R&B superstar Chris Brown who made his film debut in this film. Packer's biggest hits have beenThink like a Man, that grossed over $96 million worldwide after being released in April 2012  and Ride Along, his most successful film to date, brought in box office receipts totaling nearly $150 million as of April 2014.
In television, Packer, along with Andrew Young, Martin Luther King III, and Rainforest Films partner Rob Hardy, is co-founder of Bounce TV, a United States television network airing on digital terrestrial television stations. Promoted as "the first 24/7 digital multicast broadcast network created exclusively for African Americans," Bounce TV launched on September 26, 2011 and features programming geared toward blacks and African Americans in the 25–54 age range.
In 2013 Packer launched Will Packer Productions. In July 2013, he signed a two-year deal with Universal Television to develop new projects for the studio. Later that year, he signed a three year deal with Universal Pictures.
Awards and recognitions
Packer has been acknowledged on several high profile lists, including but not limited to, Giant magazine's "The Giant 100", Jet magazine's "Who's Hot To Watch in 2008 and Black Enterprise's "Most Powerful Players Under 40."
- Chocolate City (1994): producer
- Trois (2000): producer, writer
- Trois 2: Pandora's Box (2002): producer, writer (story)
- Motives (2004): producer
- Trois: The Escort (2004): executive producer
- The Gospel (2005): producer
- The Gospel Live (2005): executive producer
- Puff, Puff, Pass (2006): producer
- Stomp the Yard (2007): producer
- Motives 2 (2007): producer
- This Christmas (2007): producer
- Three Can Play That Game (2008): producer
- Obsessed (2009): producer
- Takers (2010): producer
- Stomp the Yard: Homecoming (2010): producer
- Alpha Man: The Brotherhood Of MLK (2011): executive producer
- Think Like a Man (2012): producer, cameo appearance
- Battle of the Year (2013): executive producer
- Ride Along (2014): producer
- About Last Night (2014): producer
- Think Like a Man Too (2014): producer, cameo appearance
- No Good Deed (2014): producer
- The Wedding Ringer (2015): producer
- Straight Outta Compton (2015): executive producer
- Ride Along 2 (2016): producer
- Untitled Girls Trip Project (TBA): producer
- Black Phantom (TBA): producer
- Me Time (TBA): producer
- Terminal Point (TBA): producer
- [dead link]
- "Rainforest Films". Rainforest Films. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "This Christmas (2007)". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- "News Headlines – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University 2012". Famu.edu. December 7, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- ”In the Spotlight The Gospel”, Accessed May 3, 2009.
- ”About Will Packer”. Accessed May 2, 2009.
- ”William Packer”. Accessed May 3, 2009.
- ”This Christmas”. Accessed May 1, 2009.
- ”FAMU’s Beta Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Receives College Chapter of the Year Award”, July 25, 2008. Accessed May 3, 2009.
- Longino, Bob,“Panel : A Conversation with Will Packer and Rob Hardy of Rainforest Films”, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 22, 2007.Accessed May 5, 2009.
- Los Angeles Times "Gospel “Reforms” Skin Flick Partners”, October 16, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2009.