Joseph Drake has returned to Lionsgate Motion Picture Group as a co-chair. He was previously the co-founder and president of Good Universe, an independent full-service motion picture financing, production and global sales company. Drake formed the company in May 2012 with former Mandate Pictures partner Nathan Kahane. The company was formed with the capital to fully finance films, a development slate of over 15 feature films, and the continuity of an executive team that have launched 70 films and generated over $4.5 billion in worldwide box office. Within the company’s first month of business, Good Universe financed its first two motion pictures — Oldboy, directed by Spike Lee starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley; and Last Vegas featuring an Academy Award® winning cast including Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen.
Drake and Kahane formed Good Universe with a two pronged feature film strategy. A franchise-building strategy Drake pioneered as president of the Lionsgate motion picture group, which resulted in global box office, hits The Expendables and global juggernaut The Hunger Games franchise. In addition to franchises, Good Universe will continue to focus on the kinds of niche movies that brought acclaim and significant profitability for its predecessor company Mandate Pictures such as the highly profitable global box office success Juno, which garnered a host of accolades including an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay and three additional Oscar® nominations, as well as pictures under the successful horror brand Ghost House Pictures which has enjoyed six #1 hits, starting with The Grudge in 2004, which grossed more than $188 million worldwide and resulted in a popular franchise.
Drake founded Mandate Pictures in 2001. That same year Drake made Kahane a partner and together they formed a separate joint venture with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, Ghost House Pictures, which continues to be a leader in the horror genre. Notable Mandate and Ghost House pictures include Stranger Than Fiction, the Harold & Kumar franchise, and more recently The Possession, and much anticipated remake of Evil Dead to be released in 2013.
In 2007 the partners sold Mandate Pictures to Lionsgate. Following the acquisition of Mandate, Drake transitioned into his role as president of the Lionsgate motion picture group and co-chief operating officer of Lionsgate, while maintaining his role as CEO of Mandate Pictures. Drake continued to operate Mandate as an autonomous brand moving the company forward with hits including Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep, the Golden Globe®-nominated 50/50, and the upcoming Seth Rogen/Jonah Hill comedy The End of the World. In his post at Lionsgate, Drake ran all areas of Lionsgate’s theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international operations. Under Drake’s tenure, the motion picture group doubled its average box office generating more than $3 billion in global box office, earned 23 Academy Award® nominations and four Academy Award® wins, and experienced the most profitable period in the company’s history adding over $600 million in value to Lionsgate’s motion picture group.
Earlier in his career, Drake served posts at Rysher Entertainment, Senator International, Lionsgate International, and Moviestore Entertainment.