April 11, 1974
St. Petersburg, Florida
|Education||St. Petersburg High School|
|Alma mater||Florida A&M University|
|Notable work||Produced Think Like a Man, Obsessed, Ride Along, About Last Night|
Will Packer (born April 11, 1974) is an American film producer. He is the founder of Will Packer Productions. Packer is known for producing low-budget, high-profit movies that have made him one of Hollywood's unsung successes. He has been included in several high-profile lists, including 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."
William Packer was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. He graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1991 and began attending Florida A&M University that fall. In 1996, Packer graduated magna cum laude from FAMU with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.
It was at FAMU that he started filmmaking with colleague and future business partner Rob Hardy while participating in an internship with veteran producer Warrington Hudlin. In 1994, Packer and Hardy produced their first film, Chocolate City, for $20,000 and Packer helped broker a small distribution deal with Blockbuster video. After graduating, Packer and Hardy moved to Atlanta, Georgia and co-founded Rainforest Films. Packer 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 2000, Trois, Rainforest Film's first movie to be released theatrically, grossed over $1.2 million and became the fastest million-dollar grossing film independently distributed by African Americans. Trois was in the Top 50 Highest Grossing Independent Films of the year, according to Daily Variety, and Rainforest Films was at #34 on the list of Top 100 Film Distributors of 2000 listed by The Hollywood Reporter in August 2001. Due to the success of their first film, Packer and Hardy were listed among the "New Establishment" of Black power brokers in Hollywood.
In 2001, Packer helped broker a deal with Sony to produce and distribute urban films including Trois's sequel, Trois: The Escort, and Motives. The film Lockdown, released on home video under this Rainforest-Sony 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".
Packer and Hardy wanted Rainforest's films to include established actors and actresses as well as those who are up and coming. 2007's This Christmas, a film about a middle-class family that reunites at Christmas time for the first time in many years, stars veteran actresses Loretta Devine and Regina King as well as R&B superstar Chris Brown in his feature film debut. Packer produced five #1 films with Rainforest, Stomp the Yard, Obsessed, Takers, Think like a Man and Ride Along. His biggest hits with Rainforest have been Think like a Man, which grossed over $96 million worldwide after being released in April 2012, and Ride Along, which 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.
Will Packer Productions
In 2013, and while still producing for Rainforest Films, 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. During the dissolution of Rainforest Films in June 2014, it was announced that the last Packer-produced film that would appear under the Rainforest Film's banner would be February 2014's About Last Night. Think Like a Man Too, No Good Deed, The Wedding Ringer and Ride Along 2 (all Packer-produced films that were in development, filming or in post-production at the time of Rainforest Films' dissolution) all fell under the new shingle, Will Packer Productions.
- Chocolate City (1994) (producer)
- Trois (2000) (writer, producer)
- Trois 2: Pandora's Box (2002) (story writer, producer)
- 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)
- Almost Christmas (2016) (producer)
- Girls Trip (2017) (producer)
- Jacob's Ladder (TBA) (producer)
- Silence (TBA) (producer)
- Black Phantom (TBA) (producer)
- Me Time (TBA) (producer)
- Terminal Point (TBA) (producer)
- Truth Be Told (2015)
- Roots (2016) (executive producer)
- Uncle Buck (2016)
- Being Mary Jane (2016) (executive producer)
- The Quad (2017) (executive producer)
- Buckhead (TBA)
Packer is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity (inducted into the Beta Nu Chapter at FAMU). Packer married his first wife Nina (former general manager of Bryant Management, the artist management firm for Lil' Wayne and his YMCMB label) in July 2001 and they have two daughters and a son together. They were divorced in February 2009. Packer proposed to his fiancé Heather Hayslett live on stage at the 2013 Essence Music Festival. They were married on Friday, August 28, 2015 in Georgia.
- "Producer Will Packer , wife Nina Packer and daughters attend the... News Photo". Getty Images. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Charli Penn. "EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Will Packer Marries In Surprise Wedding In Georgia". Essence.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Steve Persall, Times Movie Critic Link View all Articles (2012-04-20). "Review: 'Think Like a Man' offers some charming self-help | Tampa Bay Times". Tampabay.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Jet - Google Books". Books.google.com. 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Jasfly, By. "FAMU-FSU College of Engineering :: Will Packer, the Hollywood Hitmaker". Eng.fsu.edu. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Campus Campaign To Sell His Movie Rob Hardy And Buddies From Florida A&m Made The Circuit Of African American Colleges Plugging His Erotic Thriller, "Trois." - philly-archives". Articles.philly.com. 2000-03-14. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "Rainforest Films". Rainforest Films. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
-  Archived December 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Variety Staff (2001-07-26). "Limited release B.O. winners – 2000". Variety. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
-  Archived December 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Los Angeles Times "Gospel “Reforms” Skin Flick Partners”, October 16, 2005. Accessed May 5, 2009.
- "This Christmas (2007)". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- "Think Like a Man (2012)". Box Office Mojo. 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Ride Along (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Molloy, Tim (2011-09-25). "Black-Oriented Bounce TV Begins, Betting on Classic Movies". Thewrap.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "EUR Exclusive: ‘Think Like a Man Too’ Producers Sued for Gross Mismanagement, Abuse of Control". Eurweb.com. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Lesley Goldberg (2013-07-09). "Film Producer Will Packer Inks Overall Deal With Universal TV". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Fleming, Mike (2013-10-31). "Universal Makes First-Look Feature Pact With Hitmaking Producer Will Packer". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Yamato, Jen (2014-06-23). "‘Think Like A Man Too’ Producers Dissolve Hitmaking Shingle Rainforest Films". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Yamato, Jen (2014-06-23). "‘Think Like A Man Too’ Producers Dissolve Hitmaking Shingle Rainforest Films". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- "Will Packer Productions | Film Production Company". Willpackerprods.com. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Max Weinstein (2013-12-19). "N.W.A. Biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Brings On Writer". Vibe. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "David E. Talbert and Will Packer Pair Up for Thanksgiving | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Lincoln, Ross A. (2015-05-14). "Universal Sets Release Dates For ‘Legend’, ‘A Meyers Christmas’". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Lincoln, Ross A. (2016-04-13). "Universal Retitles Family Comedy ‘A Meyers Christmas’". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- Dominique Hobdy (2014-02-25). "Malcom D. Lee and Will Packer Team Up for New Movie 'Girls Trip'". Essence.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Jeff Sneider (2014-03-19). "'South Park' Writer to Take 'Girl's Trip' With Malcolm D. Lee, Universal". Thewrap.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Dave McNary (2015-06-22). "Will Packer Sets Female Comedy at Universal". Variety. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Busch, Anita (2016-05-13). "Regina Hall To Star In Will Packer’s Untitled ‘Girl Trip’ Film At Uni". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Fleming, Mike (2016-03-21). "Michael Ealy Will Star In ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ Reboot". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- wilsonmorales (2016-03-22). "Michael Ealy To Star In "Jacob’s Ladder" Remake With Producer Will Packer | blackfilm.com/read". Blackfilm.com. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- Justin Kroll (2014-03-11). "Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart and Tim Story Team Up for ‘Black Phantom’ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Jeff Sneider (2014-05-09). "Will Packer to Produce Female Road Comedy 'Me Time' for Universal". Thewrap.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Yamato, Jen (2014-07-16). "Will Packer & Universal Acquire ‘Terminal Point’ Spec". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- Elizabeth Wagmeister (2015-05-07). "NBC Comedy Orders: ‘People Are Talking,’ ‘Crowded,’ ‘Superstore’". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Andreeva, Nellie. "Upfronts 2015: The Overachievers". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2015-04-30). "‘Roots’ Remake Set For History, A&E, Lifetime; Will Packer, LeVar Burton Produce". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Cynthia Littleton (2015-04-30). "‘Roots’ Remake to Air on History, A&E and Lifetime Next Year". Variety. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- "Will Packer to Executive Produce 'Roots' for Three Networks". Eurweb.com. 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- Lesley Goldberg (2015-05-08). "'Uncle Buck' Remake Ordered to Series at ABC". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-05-17.
- "Upfront". Bet.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2015-07-27). "Will Packer To Produce Atlanta-Set Drama ‘Buckhead’ For NBC". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Lesley Goldberg (2015-07-27). "Will Packer Sells Atlanta Drama to NBC". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Deadline (2015-07-28). "Will Packer To Produce Atlanta-Set Drama ‘Buckhead’ For NBC". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- cite web|url=http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?a=headlines&p=display&news=645&archive |title=News Headlines – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University 2012 |publisher=Famu.edu |date=December 7, 2006 |accessdate=February 2, 2012
- ”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.
- "Producer Will Packer Proposes During Essence Music Festival… [PHOTOS + VIDEO]". Straightfromthea.com. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Will Packer Proposes Live at the 2013 ESSENCE Festival". Essence.com. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- "JUST MARRIED: Hollywood Producer Will Packer & Heather Hayslett Tie The Knot In Surprise Backyard Wedding! | The Young, Black, and Fabulous®". Theybf.com. 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2016-05-19.