EXCLUSIVE: As Ben Affleck just started directing the untitled drama on Monday about maverick sneaker salesman Sonny Vaccaro’s (Matt Damon) relentless pursuit to get Michael Jordan to don Nike shoes, Affleck and Damon are getting some traction on their own revolutionary enterprise.
They are negotiating to launch a new money production company which is in talks to be funded by Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital. Deadline learns that Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov plays an important role. Robinov has a long history with Affleck (Argo and The city) and Damon (Ocean’s Eleven franchise) during his days at the helm of Warner Bros. The intention is to generate high-profile content.
The untitled Nike movie is being made for Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures, but sources said the new company will likely also take on a producing role in the film. It is based on a Black List script called Air Jordan by Alex Convery, and Goodwill hunting Scribes Affleck and Damon dropped this script on how Nike co-founder Phil Knight (played by Affleck) sent Vaccaro on a quest to sign Jordan in what became the most important athlete product ever interlaced. It turned Nike and Jordan into global billion-dollar companies.
The production company may take a while to merge, and it’s not done because the directors are busy making this movie, but it’s one of the most promising entrepreneurial ventures to come in a moment. Damon and Affleck won Oscars for Goodwill hunting and Affleck directed Best Picture winner Argo. They recently teamed up on the film directed by Ridley Scott The last duel.
Cardinale’s RedBird Capital manages over $6 billion in assets across multiple sectors, including sports, media and entertainment. Cardinale is known as a deal architect and business builder, and the firm’s investment portfolio includes many of the world’s most iconic entrepreneurs, properties and brands in the sports and media ecosystems, including Fenway. Sports Group (Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Pittsburgh Penguins and New England Sports Network); Skydance Media (Larry and David Ellison); the Springhill Company (LeBron James and Maverick Carter); the XFL with Dwayne Johnson and his partner Dany Garcia; and more recently AC Milan of European football who recently won the Italian Serie A championship.
Affleck and Damon are represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.