EXCLUSIVE: The Walt Disney Company has extended its relationship with Black Panther director and co-writer Ryan Coogler. Disney has made a five-year overall exclusive television deal with Coogler’s Proximity Media, which he runs with principals Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Ludwig Göransson, Archie Davis and Peter Nicks. Coogler, who is working on the Black Panther feature sequel he will direct this year, will develop new television series for the studio. The first one will delight Black Panther fans: a drama based in the Kingdom of Wakanda for Disney+. The deal also enables Proximity to develop television for other divisions of the Company.
“Ryan Coogler is a singular storyteller whose vision and range have made him one of the standout filmmakers of his generation,” said Bob Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company. “With Black Panther, Ryan brought a groundbreaking story and iconic characters to life in a real, meaningful and memorable way, creating a watershed cultural moment. We’re thrilled to strengthen our relationship and look forward to telling more great stories with Ryan and his team.”
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Said Coogler: “It’s an honor to be partnering with The Walt Disney Company. Working with them on Black Panther was a dream come true. As avid consumers of television, we couldn’t be happier to be launching our television business with Bob Iger, Dana Walden and all the amazing studios under the Disney umbrella. We look forward to learning, growing, and building a relationship with audiences all over the world through the Disney platforms. We are especially excited that we will be taking our first leap with Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and their partners at Marvel Studios where we will be working closely with them on select MCU shows for Disney+. We’re already in the mix on some projects that we can’t wait to share,” stated Ryan Coogler on behalf of Proximity Media.”
Coogler founded the multi-media company Proximity with Zinzi Coogler, Ohanian, Göransson, Davis and Nicks with a mission to create event-driven feature films, television, soundtracks and podcasts that look to bring audiences closer together through stories involving often-overlooked subject matters. Proximity intends to generate a wide variety of projects across all budget levels.
Coogler’s rise to the Hollywood A-list has been meteoric. His debut came on the lauded Fruitvale Station, and he reunited with Michael B Jordan on Creed, after persuading Sylvester Stallone to allow him to revive his Rocky Balboa character and franchise. Creed has turned into a franchise of its own. Coogler then followed with Black Panther, a film that grossed north of $1.3 billion globally, the most for a film by a Black filmmaker. It created a global zeitgeist groundswell and became the first superhero film to get a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Star Chadwick Boseman died last year, and Coogler and Disney are moving forward with a sequel he has written, one that will not recast another actor in that role.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Proximity Media by WME, Charles King of M88 and Jonathan Gardner, Esq. of Cohen & Gardner.