Marco Weber (film producer)
|Intro||German film producer|
|Is||Film producer Film director|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
Marco Weber (born 1966, Leer, East Frisia) is a Los Angeles-based German producer responsible for a series of high-profile international productions since the mid-1990s.
Marco Weber studied theater and film history at the university of Bochum – after a brief spell in a steel factory. He earned his spurs in the media industry as production manager for the German version of The Price Is Right before venturing into the production of commercials. He gave his debut as a movie producer with the documentary Annie’s Shooting.
Theatrical production being his main goal, he went to Los Angeles at the age of 25 in order to produce and finance independent movies. One year later he launched his first feature, Don't Do It, with upcoming stars such as Heather Graham and David Arquette. Together with blockbuster director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) he produced the $20-million sci-fi thriller The Thirteenth Floor directed by Josef Rusnak, starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Armin Müller-Stahl.
In 1998 he founded his company Atlantic Streamline, which was to produce – among others—the heist comedy You Are Dead with John Hurt und Rhys Ifans. In 2001 the flop of All the Queen's Men (directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky, who went on to win the 2007 Academy Award for best foreign picture for The Counterfeiters) plunged the firm into major trouble. But one year later Weber was able to celebrate his biggest hit up until this point – the black comedy Igby Goes Down, which earned Golden Globe nominations for its actors Kieran Culkin and Susan Sarandon. Writer-director Burr Steers was honored with an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best screenplay. In the wake of this success Weber closed a first look/cofinancing deal with the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists.
His 2005 production of Rohtenburg created a stir in Germany at first. The movie was inspired by the true crime case of convicted cannibalistic murderer Armin Meiwes. Upon protest of the offender, who saw his personal rights violated, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt prohibited the theatrical release that had been scheduled for March 9, 2006. Three years later this ban was to be overturned by the German Federal Court. Abroad the movie had already made a positive impression. At renowned film festivals like Sitges, Spain, or Puchon, South Korea, Rohtenburg had received awards for best director (Martin Weisz) and best leading actors (Thomas Kretschmann, Thomas Huber) among others.
In the meantime, Weber, who kept operating from Los Angeles, had become an important player in the German movie industry. End of 2005 he and his partner Helge Sasse together with a group of German-American investors acquired a 50.1 per cent stake in the insolvent long-established distribution company Senator Entertainment AG. Thanks to a target-oriented acquisitions and production strategy Weber was able to give the company a new profile. In 2007 he showed countable success with the Academy Award-nominated Pan's Labyrinth (287,905 admissions – source: German Federal Film Board/GFFB), “1408“ (537,334 admissions – source: GFFB) and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (572,906 admissions – source: GFFB). With the newly founded label Autobahn he tried to propagate innovative genre films – a strategy that worked for low-budget movies like Hard Candy (77,794 admissions – source: GFFB) starring Ellen Page. By the end of 2007 Senator had nearly doubled the results of the previous year with a turnover of €68.37 million.
Concurrently, Weber remained active as producer. As managing director of the American daughter company Senator Entertainment Inc., USA, he realized two high-profile independent movies – the family drama Fireflies in the Garden starring Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe and Ryan Reynolds as well as the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Informers with Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger and Winona Ryder – both of which were sold worldwide.
In the German market Senator’s movies had a tough time in 2008 – even critically acclaimed productions like The Orphanage (100,371 admissions – source: GFFB) proved a box-office disappointment. Neither did the movies “Autobahn“ series catch on in their theatrical release. It was only in spring 2009 that Weber’s acquisition The Reader starring Kate Winslet, who was to receive an Academy Award as best actress, would provide the distributor with another blockbuster. 2,134,990 admissions (source: GFFB) were equivalent to the most successful movie in the company’s history since 2003.
Return to Core Business
End of 2008 Weber had already withdrawn from the board of Senator Entertainment AG in order to focus on his core business – movie production. Since then he realized the thriller Unthinkable with Samuel Jackson and served as executive producer of Antoine Fuqua’s crime drama Brooklyn's Finest starring Richard Gere and Ethan Hawke.
Rapid Eye Studios
In 2012, Weber decided to transition into writing and directing with his debut "California Scheming". This tale of four troubled Teenagers was financed and produced through his label Rapid Eye Studios. The film was shot entirely in Malibu, California and stars teen actors Gia Mantegna, Rachel Seiferth, Devon Werkheiser and Spencer Daniels.
In 2014 and following the distribution of "California Scheming", Weber entered into a 15 Picture US Distribution Deal with Cinedigm Entertainment. Under the agreement, Rapid Eye will produce, co-produce, or acquire three to four genre-centric films per year. Cinedigm will handle the theatrical and home entertainment release and distribution strategy, with RES producing and managing the marketing. This deal reunites Weber and Cinedigm Chairman and CEO, Chris McGurk. The first film in development under the deal with Cinedigm is called "Datum" and is expected to go into production in late 2014.
The international distribution on each Rapid Eye production will be handled by Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures (The Hurt Locker, Dallas Buyers Club).
In addition to the deal with Cinedigm, Weber created and co-wrote a series pilot entitled "Children of the Machine". He invented and created a unique and innovative distribution model in collaboration with BitTorrent. Under this model, Rapid Eye Studios will finance and produce the pilot and launch and distribute it for free to all BitTorrent subscribers. After reviewing the pilot, users will have the opportunity to help finance an additional 8-hour-long episodes by subscribing to the show via BitTorrent paygates. If the threshold of subscribers is met, the full series will be produced and launched in Summer 2015 to those users who donated. "Children of the Machine" is co-written by Jeff Stockwell.
Weber lives with his wife, Anne Caroline, and their four children in Malibu, California. Under her maiden name, Caroline Schröder, his wife was one of the stars of popular German TV series Sterne des Südens (“Stars of the South“).
Selected filmography as producer (unless otherwise stated)
- 1994: Don't Do It (Executive Producer)
- 1995: Red Meat
- 1997: No Strings Attached
- 1999: The Thirteenth Floor
- 1999: You Are Dead
- 2001: All the Queen's Men
- 2002: Igby Goes Down
- 2005: Rohtenburg (aka Grimm Love)
- 2007: Fireflies in the Garden
- 2008: The Informers
- 2009: Unthinkable
- 2010: Brooklyn's Finest
- 2012: California Scheming (Writer, Director, Producer)
- 2014: Children of the Machine (Writer, Director, Producer
- 2014: Datum (Writer, Director, Producer)
- blond Magazin 7/2006
- Marco Weber at the Internet Movie DatabaseSeptember 12, 2010