Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969) is an American director and producer. He is known for directing the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He was also a producer of the films Black Mass, The Revenant, War Dogs, The Lego Ninjago Movie, and the Horrible Bosses series.
Ratner at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
March 28, 1969|
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
RatPac Entertainment |
Ratner got his start directing with music videos in the 1990s, and directed his first motion picture, Money Talks, in 1997. Overall, the films Ratner has directed have earned over $2 billion at the global box office.
Ratner is the co-founder of RatPac Entertainment, a film production and financing company. Ratner led RatPac's partnership with Dune Entertainment in September 2013 for a co-financing deal with Warner Bros. that included 75 films.
In late 2017, a former talent agency employee and six other women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of sexual misconduct and harassment. Ratner sued her for defamation.
Ratner was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, the son of Marsha Pratts (remarried), a socialite, and Ronald Ratner. He grew up in a "middle-class Jewish family". His father was the son of a wealthy Miami businessman. 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). Ratner's mother was sixteen when he was born. Ratner told Aventura Business Monthly in a May 2011 cover story interview that he "really didn't know" his biological father, and that he considers Alvin Malnik, who opened the famous Forge restaurant in Miami Beach, to be his father, "the one who raised" him. 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.
Ratner attended Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy elementary school and attended Alexander Muss High School in Israel 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. He is a 1990 graduate of New York University. In 2010, he cited Martin Scorsese's 1980 film Raging Bull as his inspiration to enter the world of film.
Ratner began directing music videos in the 1990s. 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. While a student at NYU, he released his first short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?. The rap group Public Enemy attended the film’s premier and asked Ratner to make the group’s music videos. Ratner did the debut videos for Prime Minister Pete Nice before working with Redman, LL Cool J, Heavy D and Wu-Tang Clan. He has also directed music videos for artists such as Mariah Carey Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Jay Z and Michael Jackson. He directed Carey’s “We Belong Together,” "I Still Believe," “Obsessed” and “Heartbreaker” among others.
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. Ratner received $25 million to make the film.
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. Ratner uses “think 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.
In 2001, Ratner returned to the Rush Hour series and directed Rush Hour 2. In 2002, he directed the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, about Hannibal Lecter. In the film, Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, works with a retired FBI agent played by Edward Norton to find The Tooth Fairy, a serial killer played by Ralph Fiennes.
In the same year, Ratner also directed the ensemble comedy caper Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy leading a gang of thieves to get revenge on a greedy tycoon. 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.
In 2011, Ratner produced the TV documentary, American Masters: Woody Allen – A Documentary. That same year, he produced Horrible Bosses, a comedy about employees plotting to kill their bosses. Horrible Bosses opened at the domestic box office with $28.1 million in its first weekend.
In 2015, Ratner produced Black Mass, a biopic about gangster James “Whitey” Bulger played by Johnny Depp. The same year, Ratner was executive producer on The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
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. Packer's stake in the company was later bought out by Len Blavatnik's First Access Entertainment. The company makes 25 films annually. 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.
RatPac and Dune Entertainment formed a film investment vehicle, which in September 2013, entered a multi-year, 75-film co-financing partnership with Warner Bros. The company has also partnered with New Regency, advertising firm WPP, Chinese firm CMC Capital Partners, and Shanghai Media Group. Ratner worked with CMC to form a fund aimed at investments in Chinese media companies.
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.
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 after Jackman was punk'd.
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.
In 2009, Rather established Rat Press, a publishing company, based on his love of books. The company reissued a Playboy interview with Marlon Brando and Robert Evans as well as an account of NFL player Jim Brown, and released a book of Scott Caan's photographs.
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.
Ratner worked with international beverage brand Diageo to produce The Hilhaven Lodge, a blended whiskey named for his Beverly Hills estate. The bottle is modeled after the estate and features a wood cork, and the bottle is shaped to resemble bay windows. The drink is a mixture of 26-year-old rye, 15-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and six-year bourbon.
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. Ratner participated in the eighth annual Cannes Film Finance Forum.
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.
Ratner has served on the boards of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, Chrysalis, Ghetto Film School, Best Buddies and the Los Angeles Police Foundation. He served on the dean’s council of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and also serves on the board of directors of Tel Aviv University’s School of Film and Television. He donated $1 million to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in 2013.
84th Academy AwardsEdit
On August 4, 2011, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Ratner would produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer. However, Ratner resigned on November 8, 2011 after remarking that "rehearsal is for fags". Ratner later apologized for his remarks. Eddie Murphy, who was scheduled to host the ceremony, also resigned in deference to a new production team. Ratner was replaced by Brian Grazer, and Murphy was replaced by previous Oscar host Billy Crystal.
Sexual misconduct allegationsEdit
Actress Ellen Page has stated that Ratner outed her as gay at a cast and crew meet and greet for X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), which made her feel violated. Fellow actress Anna Paquin expressed support of Page, stating that she was present when Ratner made the comment. Actress Sarah Shahi stated that on multiple occasions during filming of Rush Hour 3 (2007), Ratner pushed his groin against her and made graphic sexual comments. In 2011, The Jewish Journal ran an article alleging that Ratner harassed a journalist during an interview for a 2008 cover story.
In October 2017, a former talent agency employee accused Ratner of rape. On November 1, 2017, six women, including Olivia Munn, and Natasha Henstridge, accused Ratner of sexual misconduct and harassment, as well as following an actress into a bathroom without invitation and masturbating as another entered his trailer to deliver food.
In April 2018, Warner Bros. announced that they will not renew a $450-million co-financing deal with Ratner as the company also cutting ties with RatPac-Dune Entertainment after Ratner was stepping away from all Warner Bros.-related activities.
Ratner filed a libel suit on November 1, 2017, in federal court in Hawaii, the same day the Los Angeles Times reported that six other women had accused him of sexual misconduct, accusing now-former-employee Melanie Kohler, a Hawaii native, of damaging his reputation. A motion to dismiss Ratner's suit by Kohler's lawyers, was denied in February 2018. In April 2018, Gillmor, a federal judge in Hawaii, denied Ratner's attorneys from taking a broad scope deposition from Kohler but allowed a broad range of written questions.
Kohler’s motion to strike the case, under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, was being readied. In October 2018, Ratner dropped the lawsuit "because of Kohler's 'cloudy and unclear' account of the alleged assault."
Film and televisionEdit
|1990||Whatever Happened to Mason Reese||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|1997||Money Talks||Yes||Feature film|
|Making the Video||Yes||TV series documentary|
|2000||The Family Man||Yes||Feature film|
|2001||Rush Hour 2||Yes|
|Velocity Rules||Yes||Short film|
|2002||Red Dragon||Yes||Feature film|
|Paid in Full||Yes|
|Me and Daphne||Yes|
|A Ribbon of Dreams||Yes|
|2004||After the Sunset||Yes||Yes|
|2005||Before, During and 'After the Sunset'||Yes||Video documentary|
|Prison Break (pilot episode)||Yes||TV series|
|Santa's Slay||Yes||Feature film|
|Untitled David Diamond/David Weissman Project||Yes||Yes||TV movie|
|2006||X-Men: The Last Stand||Yes||Feature film|
|End Game||Yes||Direct-to-video film|
|Becker Hargrove, Inc.||Yes||Short film|
|Rush Hour 3||Yes||Feature film|
|Code Name: The Cleaner||Yes|
|Helmut by June||Yes||TV documentary|
|Women's Murder Club||Yes||TV series|
|Blue Blood||Yes||Yes||TV movie|
|New York, I Love You||Yes||Feature film|
|2009||Cop House||Yes||Yes||TV movie|
|I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale||Yes||Documentary short|
|Prison Break: The Final Break||Yes||TV movie|
|The Shooter Series: vol. 1||Yes||Video|
|Kites: The Remix||Yes||Feature film|
|Nick Cannon: Mr. Show Biz||Yes||TV documentary|
|2012||Mirror Mirror||Yes||Feature film|
|2014||30 for 30: Soccer Stories||Yes||Yes||TV series|
|Night Will Fall||Yes||Documentary|
|Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films||Yes|
|One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film||Yes|
|The Water Diviner||Yes||Feature film|
|Horrible Bosses 2||Yes|
|The 100 Years Show||Yes||Documentary short|
|By Sidney Lumet||Yes||Documentary|
|Chuck Norris vs. Communism||Yes|
|Black Mass||Yes||Feature film|
|I Saw the Light||Yes|
|S is for Stanley||Yes||Documentary|
|Fun Size Horror: Volume Two||Yes||Short film|
|Kill Them Mommy!||Yes|
|In the Name of Honor||Yes||Documentary|
|The Audition||Yes||Short film|
|The Revenant||Yes||Feature film|
|Breakthrough||Yes||TV documentary series|
|2016||Dark Crimes||Yes||Feature film|
|Before the Flood||Yes||Documentary|
|Rules Don't Apply||Yes||Feature film|
|Author: The J.T. Leroy Story||Yes||Documentary|
|Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds||Yes||TV documentary|
|War Dogs||Yes||Feature film|
|Rush Hour||Yes||TV series|
|The Lego Ninjago Movie||Yes||Feature film|
|TBA||Hong Kong Phooey|
|Untitled Boston College Fox Project||Yes|
|In the Company of Lies||Yes|
Films Ratner has directed have received generally mixed to negative reviews.
|The Family Man||53%||42|
|Rush Hour 2||52%||48|
|After the Sunset||18%||38|
|X-Men: The Last Stand||58%||58|
|Rush Hour 3||18%||44|
|New York, I Love You (Brett Ratner segment)||35%||49|
|Movie 43 ("Happy Birthday" segment)||4%||18|
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- "CBS Collars 'Rush Hour' TV Adaptation From Bill Lawrence". Variety.com.
- "Johnny Depp-Starrer 'Black Mass' To World Premiere At Venice Film Festival". Variety.
- "'Star Wars' Actor Joins Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant'". Variety.
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- "Cannes: Brett Ratner Looking to Co-Finance TV Series With U.S. Network". HollywoodReporter.com.
- "'Prison Break,' 'Rush Hour' Filmmaker Wants a Piece of the Chinese Market".
- "Producer Brett Ratner Is On Fire After 'Gravity' And Says It Comes Down To 'Selling Adrenaline'". BusinessInsider.com.
- "Gravity Raises Packer's New Media Outfit, RatPack Entertainment". Forbes.com.
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- Fleming, Mike. "RatPac, Edward Norton's Class 5 Options 'American Hippopotamus'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
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