Escape Artists is an independently financed motion picture and television production company with a first-look deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment for film and a first-look deal with MGM Television for TV, headed by Partners Steve Tisch, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and David Bloomfield. In 2001, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal’s Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Company to form Escape Artists.
The first movie under the Escape Artists banner was A Knight’s Tale, starring Heath Ledger in 2001. In 2005, Escape Artists released The Weather Man, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Nic Cage and Michael Caine. Their next film, The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino and starring Will Smith, was released in 2006 and earned over $300 million in worldwide ticket sales, as well as best actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Will Smith. Seven Pounds, another Gabriele Muccino directed film starring Will Smith, was released in 2008. In 2009, Escape Artists released the Alex Proyas thriller, Knowing, starring Nic Cage and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3, directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta. Then followed Hope Springs in 2012, directed by David Frankel and starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. In 2014, Escape Artists released the comedy Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel; followed by The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington. In 2015, Escape released Unfinished Business, directed by Ken Scott and starring Vince Vaughn; and Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams. Escape’s solo release of 2016 was a remake of The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke. In 2017, Escape released The Equalizer 2, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington; and The Upside (a remake of the 2011 French film, The Intouchables), directed by Neil Burger and starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman, which was released via STXfilms and earned over $100 million at the domestic box office. In 2019, Escape released Troop Zero, starring Viola Davis, Allison Janney, McKenna Grace and Jim Gaffigan via Amazon Studios, which is available to stream now on Amazon Prime.
Escape Artists most recent film, currently streaming on Netflix, is the critically acclaimed, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Oscar winner Viola Davis, opposite Chadwick Boseman, and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson from an adaptation of August Wilson’s play. Ma Rainey has garnered 185 nominations and 76 wins during the current award season; including a Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance Win and Best Actress nominations for both the Golden Globes and the Oscars for Viola Davis, and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, a Golden Globe Best Actor win and a Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance win for the late Chadwick Boseman. Ma Rainey was also named an AFI Movie of the Year and was named Best Picture by the Black Film Critics Circle Awards and won 2 Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Achievement in Costume Design.
The next feature release for Escape via Columbia Pictures and set for a December 22nd release, is A Journal For Jordan, based on the novel by Dana Canedy, directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan; followed by The Man from Toronto, starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, and directed by Patrick Hughes, with a release date set for January 14, 2022. Escape recently wrapped production of Being the Ricardos, with Amazon Studios, based on the marriage of I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Currently in production for Escape is Cassandro, directed by Roger Ross Williams and starring Gael García Bernal; and Emancipation for Apple TV, written by Bill Collage, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith.
On the television side, Escape Artists first straight to series show, Perpetual Grace, LTD., from Steve Conrad and Bruce Terris, and starring Ben Kingsley, Jimmi Simpson and Jacki Weaver, premiered on June 2nd on EPIX, with a limited run conclusion currently in the works. Also recently airing on the Discovery Channel is Why We Hate, a six-part docu-series from Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney, which examines the origins and dangers of hate.
Currently streaming on Apple TV, is Season 1 & 2 of Servant, in association with M. Night Shyamalan, and starring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free and Rupert Grint; with Season 3 currently in production. Next up on the TV slate for Escape is Dr. Death, based on the Wondery podcast and starring Joshua Jackson, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin, streaming on Peacock July 15.