Every big actor dreams of moguldom, but a star who shows up in the credits as an executive producer isn’t necessarily doing a lot of hands-on producing, nor capturing much financial upside. But most actors don’t start production companies for money—the modest fees they’ll pocket are trivial to folks getting paid eight figures to show up in the morning. For A-listers, the appeal lies elsewhere—the power to strategically curate star vehicles, sure, but also to cultivate smaller projects, to bring to life movies that might otherwise not get made.
In addition to producing Barrymore-starrers like He’s Just Not That Into You, the company was an early champion of 2001’s cult classic Donnie Darko.
Say what you will about Happy Madison’s output — in the past year alone, Jack and Jill, Zookeeper, and Just Go With It—these guys are raking in the cash. Since 1999, the company has scored producer credits on just under 30 feature films.
Wahlberg got The Fighter made, and after Entourage and In Treatment at HBO, he convinced Martin Scorsese to direct the Boardwalk Empire pilot.
Horror downscale (Orphan) and upscale (Shutter Island), lurid melodrama (Red Riding Hood) and fanboy fodder (an upcoming live-action Akira).
Founded in 2004, and run by Depp’s sister, the company scored its first production credits in 2011.