Brett Ratner
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Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner
Brett Ratner 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Ratner at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1969-03-28) March 28, 1969 (age 51)
EducationNew York University
OccupationDirector, producer
Years active1987-present
Known forRatPac Entertainment;
Rush Hour,
Prison Break
Red Dragon

Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969)[1] is an American director and producer. He directed the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He is also a producer of several films, including the Horrible Bosses series, The Revenant and War Dogs.[2][3][4]

Ratner got his start directing with music videos in the 1990s,[5] and directed his first motion picture, Money Talks, in 1997.[6] Overall, the films Ratner has directed have earned over $2 billion at the global box office.[5] Ratner is the co-founder of RatPac Entertainment, a film production company. Ratner led RatPac's partnership with Dune Entertainment in September 2013 for a co-producing deal with Warner Bros. that included 75 films.[7] In January 2017, Ratner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture industry, located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.[8][9]

In November 2017, seven actresses, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of sexual assault and harassment, causing Warner Bros. to sever all ties with the director.

Early life

Ratner was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, the son of Marsha Presman and Ronald Ratner.[10][11] He grew up in a "middle-class Jewish family".[12]

His father was the son of d-CON mail order rat poison company founder and real estate developer Lee Ratner.[13][14][15][16] His mother was born in Cuba, and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s with her parents, Fanita and Mario Presman (their families had originally moved to Cuba from Eastern Europe).[17][18][16]

Ratner's mother was sixteen when he was born.[12] Ratner has said that he "really didn't know" his biological father, and that he considers Alvin Malnik, a lawyer and businessman with alleged organized crime ties[19][20][21] who opened the famous Forge restaurant in Miami Beach, to be his father, "the one who raised" him.[22] Malnik was a friend of Lee Ratner and not romantically involved with Marsha Presman.[16]

Ratner's biological father became homeless in Miami Beach, a situation which inspired the younger Ratner to become a board member of the nationwide nonprofit organization Chrysalis, which helps the homeless find work.[23]

Ratner attended Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy[24] elementary school and attended Alexander Muss High School in Israel[16] and graduated in 1986 from Miami Beach Senior High School. While growing up in Miami Beach, Ratner was an extra on the set of Scarface and was able to watch Miami Vice film around town.[25] Shortly before Ratner's high school graduation, his mother and biological father married with the intention of legitimating his status.[16]

He is a 1990 graduate of New York University.[26] In 2010, he cited Martin Scorsese's 1980 film Raging Bull as his inspiration to enter the world of film.[27]

Career

Directing

Ratner began directing music videos in the 1990s.[5] When he was a sophomore at New York University Tisch Schools of the Arts, he was manager and executive producer for B.M.O.C. (Big Man On Campus), one of the first white rap groups.[28] While a student at NYU, he released his first short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?.[29] The rap group Public Enemy attended the film's premier and asked Ratner to make the group's music videos.[5] Ratner did the debut videos for Prime Minister Pete Nice before working with Redman, LL Cool J, Heavy D and Wu-Tang Clan.[30] He has also directed music videos for artists such as Mariah Carey[31]Madonna, Miley Cyrus,[32]Jay-Z[5] and was scheduled to direct a video for Michael Jackson before its production was cancelled.[33] He directed Carey's "We Belong Together," "I Still Believe," "Obsessed" and "Heartbreaker" among others.[34][35]

Ratner had his motion picture debut when he directed Money Talks in 1997. The film, an action-comedy about a con-man accused of organizing a prison break, was Ratner's first collaboration with comedian Chris Tucker. The film's budget was $25 million.[36]

In 1998, he directed Rush Hour, the action-comedy starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, which was released in September 1998 and went on to become the studio's highest-grossing film and the highest grossing comedy at the time.[37][38] Ratner uses music on the set to inspire the production, and when filming Rush Hour, a Michael Jackson song he played for inspiration ended up in the movie after Chris Tucker began dancing in the middle of a scene.[39]

Ratner directed The Family Man, a drama starring Nicolas Cage, in 2000.[40]

In 2001, Ratner directed Rush Hour 2.[41][42] In 2002, he directed the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, about Hannibal Lecter.[43][44]

In 2006, Ratner directed X-Men: The Last Stand,[45] then directed Rush Hour 3, which was released in 2007.[46][47]

Ratner directed a television commercial for Wynn Las Vegas featuring Steve Wynn on top of Encore Las Vegas in 2008.[48]

In the same year, Ratner also directed the ensemble comedy caper Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. The film was originally based on an idea from Eddie Murphy titled 'Trump Heist' and was about disgruntled employees of Donald Trump planning to rob Trump Tower, though references to Trump were later removed from the film.[49][50]

Producing

Ratner was an executive producer of the television series Prison Break, which aired from 2005 to 2009.[51]

In 2011, Ratner produced the TV documentary, American Masters: Woody Allen - A Documentary.[52] That same year, he produced Horrible Bosses, a comedy about employees plotting to kill their bosses.[53][54]Horrible Bosses opened at the domestic box office with $28.1 million in its first weekend.[55]

Ratner produced a remake of Snow White, Mirror Mirror (2012), based on the screenplay The Brothers Grimm: Snow White by Melisa Wallack.[56]

In 2014, he produced Horrible Bosses 2, the sequel to his 2011 film.[57] Ratner executive-produced the Rush Hour TV series based on the Rush Hour film series.[58][59][60]

In 2015, Ratner produced Black Mass, a biopic about gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, played by Johnny Depp.[61] The same year, Ratner was executive producer of The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.[62]

He was an executive producer on the 2016 film War Dogs, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller.[63]

RatPac Entertainment

In December 2012, Ratner and Australian media mogul James Packer formed a joint venture, RatPac Entertainment. The firm will produce independent films and co-produce big-budget films with a major studio.[64] Packer's stake in the company was later bought out by Len Blavatnik's First Access Entertainment. The company makes 25 films annually.[65] By 2017, the company co-financed over 50 films which had 51 Oscar nominations and earned a total of over $10 billion in box office.[66]

RatPac and Dune Entertainment formed a film investment vehicle, which in September 2013, entered a multi-year, 75-film co-producing partnership with Warner Bros.[67] The company has also partnered with New Regency, advertising firm WPP, Chinese firm CMC Capital Partners, and Shanghai Media Group.[68] Ratner worked with CMC to form a fund aimed at investments in Chinese media companies.[69]

Ratner made $40 million after the release of Gravity, which was RatPac's first investment.[70][71][72]

In June 2014, Ratner's RatPac Entertainment and Class 5 Films acquired the movie rights to the non-fiction article "American Hippopotamus", by Jon Mooallem, about the meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910 to import hippopotamuses. The film was produced by Ratner in collaboration with Edward Norton and William Migliore.[73]

Om 18 April 2017, Access Entertainment, a subsidiary of Access Industries, acquired James Packer's ownership stake in RatPac.[74] The next year, Warner Bros. announced that they were cutting ties with the company after Brett Ratner's sexual harassment allegations with Rampage as the final film to be co-financed by the company with Warner Bros., and also the final film produced by RatPac overall.[75] In November 2018, RatPac-Dune's minority ownership stake in a library of 76 Warner Bros. films was put up for sale, with investors in the fund backing the library to cash out.[76] Vine Alternative Investments made a high bid for the library, but in January 2019, Warner Bros. exercised their rights to match the bid for the library and essentially acquired RatPac-Dune's stakes. The cost was estimated at nearly $300 million.[77]

Screen appearances

Ratner was seen on MTV series Punk'd when Hugh Jackman, who portrays Wolverine in the X-Men films, was the subject of a practical joke that made it appear Ratner's $3.6 million home in Beverly Hills was destroyed by a BBQ grill explosion. Ashton Kutcher later arrived at his home and hugged him.[78]

In April 2007, Fox announced that he, Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall and Jon Avnet would be the judges for the network's filmmaking-competition/reality TV series, On the Lot.[79]

He also appeared as himself in an episode of the television series Entourage, which was shot at his Beverly Hills home,[80]

In 2009, Ratner created The Shooter Series which compiled his work, including interviews with Ratner, and a short film about Mickey Rourke's transition into boxing.[81]

Other projects

In 2009, Ratner established Rat Press, a publishing company. The company reissued a Playboy interview with Marlon Brando and Robert Evans as well as an account of NFL player Jim Brown,[82] and released a book of Scott Caan's photographs.[83]

In 2011, Ratner established Rat TV with 20th Century Fox Television. He brought former NBC development executive Chris Conti on as president of the venture.[84]

Ratner announced the Brett Ratner Florida Student Filmmaker Scholarship at the Key West Film Festival in 2015. The $5,000 scholarship was awarded to "The Cook, The Knife and The Rabbit's Finger," which was directed by Agustina Bonventura and Nicolas Casanas.[85]

Ratner worked with international beverage brand Diageo to produce The Hilhaven Lodge, a blended whiskey named for his Beverly Hills estate.[86] The bottle is modeled after the estate and features a wood cork, and the bottle is shaped to resemble bay windows.[87] The drink is a mixture of 26-year-old rye, 15-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and six-year bourbon.[88]

Ratner delivered a keynote address as part of the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017 where he referred to television as the future of production.[89] Ratner participated in the eighth annual Cannes Film Finance Forum.[90]

In March 2017, Ratner spoke out against film critic aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes at the Sun Valley Film Festival, calling it a destructive force in the film industry. He expressed respect for traditional film critics and said the site reduces film criticism to a number.[91]

Ratner has served on the boards of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance,[92] Chrysalis, Ghetto Film School,[93] Best Buddies[94] and the Los Angeles Police Foundation.[95] He served on the dean's council of NYU Tisch School of the Arts[96] and also serves on the board of directors of Tel Aviv University's School of Film and Television.[97] He donated $1 million to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in 2013.[93]

Controversies

84th Academy Awards

On August 4, 2011, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Ratner would produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer.[98][99] However, Ratner resigned on November 8, 2011[100] after remarking that "rehearsal is for fags".[101] Ratner later apologized for his remarks.[102]Eddie Murphy, who was scheduled to host the ceremony, also resigned in deference to a new production team.[103] Ratner was replaced by Brian Grazer,[104] and Murphy was replaced by previous Oscar host Billy Crystal.[105]

Sexual assault and harassment claims

In October 2017, during the Me Too movement, a former talent agency employee accused Ratner of rape.[106] On November 1, 2017, six women, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of sexual assault and harassment, as well as following an actress into a bathroom without invitation and masturbating as another entered his trailer to deliver food.[107][108] The same month, actor Elliot Page accused Ratner of sexual harassment and then outing the 18-year-old Page as gay in 2006, in front of many onlookers including Anna Paquin, who later confirmed the story.[109] A former fashion model came forward regarding an incident involving Russell Simmons and Ratner back in 1991, when Simmons coerced her to perform oral sex while Ratner was present.[110]

On November 1, 2017, the same day as the allegations of six women, Warner Bros. announced it had severed ties with Ratner. Afterwards, Ratner announced that he was "[stepping] away from all Warner Bros.-related activities" and Warner Bros. was reviewing the issue.[111][112][113][114]

In April 2018, Warner Bros. announced that they would not renew their $450-million co-producing deal with Ratner as a result of the allegations.[115]

Ratner was one of the people featured in the text leak between himself, Charlotte Kirk, Kevin Tsujihara, and James Packer.[116]

Book

Brendan Fraser stated in a 2018 interview with GQ that Ratner seemed to mislead him into posing for pictures with the intent of selling them as part of Ratner's planned book, "Hilhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures." Fraser states that he was never asked and never gave permission for said photos to be used in the published book.[117]

Filmography

Film

As director

Year Title Notes
1990 Whatever Happened to Mason Reese Also screenwriter and producer
Short film
1997 Money Talks Directorial debut
1998 Rush Hour
2000 The Family Man
2001 Lady Luck Short film
Rush Hour 2
2002 Red Dragon
2004 After the Sunset Also producer (uncredited)
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand
2007 Rush Hour 3
2008 New York, I Love You Segment: "5"
2009 The Shooter Series: vol. 1 Direct-to-video
2011 Tower Heist
2013 Movie 43 Segment: "Happy Birthday"
2014 Hercules Also producer

As producer

Year Title Notes
2001 Double Take
2002 Paid in Full
2005 Before, During and 'After the Sunset' Video documentary
Santa's Slay
2006 Running Scared
Becker Hargrove, Inc. Short film
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner
2009 I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale Documentary short
2010 Kites: The Remix
Mother's Day
2011 Horrible Bosses
2012 Mirror Mirror
CZ12 Uncredited
2014 Night Will Fall Documentary
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild,
Untold Story of Cannon Films
One Day Since Yesterday:
Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film
Horrible Bosses 2
2015 Barely Lethal
The 100 Years Show Documentary short
Chuck Norris vs. Communism Documentary
I Saw the Light
S is for Stanley Documentary
Fun Size Horror: Volume Two Short film
In the Name of Honor Documentary
Truth
The Audition Short film
2016 Dark Crimes
Before the Flood Documentary
Rules Don't Apply
Author: The J.T. Leroy Story Documentary
2019 Georgetown

As executive producer

Year Title Notes
2001 Velocity Rules Short films
2002 Me and Daphne
A Ribbon of Dreams
2006 End Game Direct-to-video film
2008 21
2010 Catfish Documentary
Skyline
2014 The Water Diviner
Jersey Boys
2015 By Sidney Lumet Documentary
Black Mass
Kill Them Mommy! Short film
The Revenant
2016 War Dogs
2017 The Lego Ninjago Movie

Television

Year Title Director Executive
Producer
Notes
1999 Partners Yes Yes TV movie
Making the Video Yes TV series documentary
2005 Prison Break Yes Pilot episode
Untitled David Diamond/David Weissman Project Yes Yes TV movie
2007 Entourage Role: Himself;
Episode "The Prince's Bride"
Helmut by June Yes TV documentary
Women's Murder Club Yes
2008 Blue Blood Yes Yes TV movie
2009 Cop House Yes Yes
Prison Break: The Final Break Yes
2011 Nick Cannon: Mr. Show Biz Yes TV documentary
CHAOS Yes
Rogue Yes Yes TV movie
2014 30 for 30: Soccer Stories Yes Yes
2015 Breakthrough Yes TV documentary series
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Yes TV documentary
Rush Hour Yes
2017 American Masters Yes

Music video

Year Title Artist
1987 "Christmas in Hollis" Run-D.M.C.
1988 "Louder Than a Bomb" Public Enemy
1993 "Rat Bastard" Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich
"Kick the Bobo" Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich
"Stay Real" Erick Sermon
"Tonight's da Night" Redman
"Pink Cookies In a Plastic Bag Getting Crushed By Buildings" LL Cool J
1994 "Nuttin' but Love" Heavy D & the Boyz
"I'll Take Her" Ill Al Skratch featuring Brian McKnight
"I Like the Way You Work It" Blackstreet
1995 "Freek'n You" Jodeci
"Love U 4 Life" Jodeci
"Every Little Thing I Do" Soul for Real
"Brown Sugar" D'Angelo
"Who Do U Love" Deborah Cox
"Sex Wit You" Heavy D & the Boyz
"Cruisin'" D'Angelo
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Mary J. Blige
1996 "Lady" (DJ Premier Remix) D'Angelo featuring AZ
"Don't Wanna Lose You" Lionel Richie
1997 "I'll Be" Foxy Brown
"No Doubt" 702
"Invisible Man" 98 Degrees
"Triumph" Wu-Tang Clan
1998 "How Deep Is Your Love" Dru Hill
1999 "I Still Believe" Mariah Carey
"Beautiful Stranger" Madonna
"Heartbreaker" Mariah Carey
"Thank God I Found You" Mariah Carey
2000 "This Could Be Heaven" Seal
2001 "Diddy" P. Diddy
2002 "Unbreakable" Michael Jackson
2005 "It's Like That" Mariah Carey
"We Belong Together" Mariah Carey
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" Jessica Simpson
2006 "Make Them Suffer" Cannibal Corpse
"A Public Affair" Jessica Simpson
"Samantha" Courtney Love
2008 "7 Things" Miley Cyrus
"Touch My Body" Mariah Carey
"Just Like Me" Jamie Foxx
"When You Leave (Numa Numa)" (Basshunter Remix) Alina
2009 "Obsessed" Mariah Carey
"H.A.T.E.U." Mariah Carey
2011 "Mrs. Right" Mindless Behavior
2015 "Infinity" Mariah Carey

Reception

According to review aggregators, the films Ratner directed have received mixed or mostly negative reviews.

References

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