Blue Rider Pictures is an independent motion picture and TV production and financing company, with more than 125 films to it’s credit since the company was formed in 1991.
During that time, Blue Rider founder Walter Josten has been involved in nearly every aspect of production, financing and distribution, including US Theatrical Distribution, International Sales, Production Services and in the more traditional roles of producer, and executive producer. Since its inception, Blue Rider has worked on the cutting edge of independent film financing, utilizing Pre-sales, Gap Financing, Tax Credits and other benefits to shoot pictures in nearly every region of the world.
In 1998, Blue Rider entered the emerging field of Bridge Financing, and quickly became the industry leader, providing more than $100 million in short-term funding to more than 75 movies with budgets ranging from $2 million to $42 million and representing more than $750 million in production.
As a result of successes in the Bridge Financing sector, Blue Rider expanded to include new types of financing, such as Gap, Super Gap and Mezzanine loans in conjunction with banks and other private lenders. The Company also continues to fund against receipts of future film incentive tax credits and from numerous states in the US and countries around the world. As examples, Blue Rider was able to provide both Bridge and Collateral Shortfall loans for John Boorman’s The Tiger’s Tail, starring Brendan Gleeson and Kim Cattrall, a film that bowed at the 2007 Palm Springs Film Festival. The Company also provided Post-Production Finishing Funds for Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale and Steve Zahn, which had a very successful 2007-2008 run domestically, overseas and on DVD (grossing more than $35 million).
Between 2006 and 2008, Blue Rider financed 33 movies with budgets totaling more than $273 million. Blue Rider-financed projects include the prison-escape actioner Rescue Dawn, the romantic comedy Then She Found Me, the sci-fi actioner Outlander, the jewel-heist thriller Flawless, the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman, the historical drama Heart of the Earth, the crime thriller The Flock, the historical romance Death Defying Acts and the family film The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.
Five films Blue Rider financed were released on DVD in 2010: Outlander, Knife Edge, Home of the Giants, The Flock and Give ’em Hell, Malone. In addition, 14 films we produced and/or financed aired on U.S. cable during the year: Not Forgotten, Outlander, Gospel Hill, Then She Found Me, The Tiger’s Tail, The Take, Surveillance, Flawless, Rescue Dawn, Keith, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Three, Modigliani and Give ’em Hell, Malone.
The Vietnam escape drama RESCUE DAWN, on which Blue Rider’s Walter Josten was an associate producer, and to which the company was bridge financier and provided post-finishing funds, has so far grossed $7,177,143 worldwide ($5,490,423 in North America and $1,686,720 in 18 territories). In 2010 it made its Swedish TV premiere. The film stars Christian Bale and Steve Zahn and was directed by the legendary Werner Herzog. The DVD has grossed more than $27.89 million.
WHO’S YOUR CADDY? is a golf comedy that Blue Rider bridge financed. It stars Big Boi, Samantha Lamole, James Avery and Jeffrey Jones, and it has earned $15.7 million on screens and DVD. In its 37th month of release (as of Dec. 27, 2010), the DVD still ranked #9 on Amazon’s list of best-selling golf DVDs and #55 among urban comedies. It made its DVD premiere in Japan in 2010.
THEN SHE FOUND ME, a romantic comedy starring, directed by and co-written by Helen Hunt, co-stars Colin Firth and Bette Midler. Blue Rider’s Walter Josten was an executive producer, and Blue Rider was a bridge financier and super-gap lender. In North American theatres it grossed $3,735,303 in a long, 118-day theatrical release. As of August 29, 2010, its total worldwide gross, excluding DVD, was $8,837,758, and its foreign gross in 29 markets was $4,697,331. During 2010, it earned $189,253 in a six-week run in Brazil and $55,510 over 16 weeks in Peru. Through Dec. 27, 2010, more than 71% of the 4,649 viewers who rated it at IMDb.com gave it thumbs-up, including people in all demographic groups (rating it 5.8 or higher out of 10).
The sci-fi action film OUTLANDER, starring Jim Caviezel, Sophia Myles, John Hurt and Ron Perlman, has grossed $6,983,014 worldwide, including $6,817,011 in 20 overseas territories. In it, a space visitor battles a monster who threatens Norse society. Blue Rider bridge financed. During 2010, it grossed $700,694 in a 9-week run in Mexico. During the year it had DVD premieres in the U.S., Hungary, Argentina, Russia and Japan. It played on UK’s Sky Movies Sci-Fi Horror HD channel.
Blue Rider bridge financed the British diamond-heist thriller FLAWLESS, starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore. It grossed $6,819,587 worldwide, including $1,200,234 during 16 weeks of domestic release, as well as $5,597,018 in 24 foreign countries. It played for 10 days in Bolivia in 2010. A hefty 87.6% of the 8,468 viewers who rated it at IMDb though Dec. 27, 2010 gave it thumbs up, and all demographic groups liked it (rating it 6.5 or better out of 10).
NUMB, a psychological dramedy starring Matthew Perry, Lynn Collins, Kevin Pollak and Mary Steenburgen, received acquisition funds from Blue Rider. During its third week of DVD release, NUMB ranked #27 on the rental charts, having brought in $6 million. In 2010, it made its DVD premiere in Italy.
STEVE MILLER BAND: LIVE IN CHICAGO, a high-definition, 32-camera concert film, to which Blue Rider was lender and on which Walter Josten was a producer, still ranked #8 on Amazon.com’s concert boxed sets chart on Dec. 27, 2010, in its 31st month of release.
NOT FORGOTTEN is a kidnap thriller starring Simon Baker, Paz Vega and Claire Forlani. Blue Rider was bridge and collateral shortfall lender, and Walter served as an executive producer. Worldwide gross: $142,055. In 2010, film grossed $88.311 in a one-month run in Peru.
Blue Rider’s Walter Josten was an associate producer and lent finishing funds to the teen basketball drama HOME OF THE GIANTS, which came out on DVD in 2010. It starred Haley Joel Osment and Ryan Merriman. Through Dec. 27, 2010 more than 75% of the 221 viewers who rated it at IMDb gave it thumbs up, with 35.3% rating it a perfect 10.
In the private-eye actioner GIVE ‘EM HELL, MALONE, starring Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames and Elsa Pataky, Blue Rider bridge lent and executive produced. It debuted on American DVD on Jan. 26, 2010. On March 29, after seven weeks of release, it ranked #40 in Amazon.com’s film noir DVD category and #45 in neo noir. In 2010 it played at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Fest. It had 2010 DVD debuts in the U.S., Russia, Argentina and Bulgaria. As of Dec. 24, 2010, more than 71.1% of the 2,770 viewers who rated it at IMDb gave it thumbs up, and 12.1% gave it a perfect 10. It was most popular with people aged 18-29.
KNIFE EDGE is a ghostly thriller, starring Nathalie Press, Hugh Bonneville and Matthieu Boujenah, to which Blue Rider was bridge lender. It had 2010 DVD debuts in the U.S. and Australia.
100 FEET is a horror thriller, starring Famke Janssen and Bobby Canavale, to which Blue Rider was bridge financier. In 2010 it made DVD debuts in France and Japan and played in theatres in Peru. It is scheduled to open on big screens in Venezuela in 2011. At Amazon.com, on March 29, 2010, in its sixth month of release, its DVD ranked #5 in the independent horror film category. Through Dec. 27, 2010, more than 59.4% of the 3,537 viewers who rated it at IMDb gave it thumbs up. It was most popular with males 17 and younger, who rated it 8.2 out of 10.
WARRIOR, a martial arts drama starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte, has lined up four distributors and is due on North American screens in 2011. Lionsgate will release it in the U.S., E1 Entertainment will put it out in the Benelux countries and Eagle Films will distribute it in the rest of the world. Blue Rider was bridge lender.
The $17 million action mystery thriller THE BIG BANG starring Antonio Banderas, Sienna Guillory, William Fichtner, Sam Elliott, Delroy Lindo, Thomas Kretschmann and Rebecca Mader was bridge-financed by Blue Rider. International distributors are planning 2011 theatrical debuts in Poland, Chile, Lebanon, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Paraguay and Uruguay. It screened at The American Film Market in Los Angeles on Nov. 3, 2010.
Scores of major and independent distribution and production companies, as well as foreign sales companies around the world have worked with Blue Rider in development, production and/or financing. They include: Netflix, Sony, Disney, Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, Walden Media, MGM, ABC, HBO, Showtime, Miramax, Dimension, Lionsgate, Pimienta Film Company, Dragonfly Cinematic, Dominion Pictures, Lotus Entertainment, Embankment Films, Tempo Productions, Romulus Entertainment, Alliance Media Partners (AMP), The Exchange, Myriad, First Look Media, Kathy Morgan International, Hallmark, Fox Family Channel, Movie Collective, Equitas, Bauer Martinez Studios, Delete:(Fries Film Group,) Add: Think Film, Remstar Studios, Bauer Martinez Studios, Fries Film Group, Think Film (Canada), Handmade Films (UK), Canal + (France), TF1 (France), VIP Media (Germany), Studio Babelsberg (Germany), Medusa (Italy), Arclight Films (Australia), Daybreak Pictures (New Zealand) and Merlin Films (Ireland).
Over its 30 plus years in business, Blue Rider has worked with most of the top Hollywood and European talent agencies and managers including CAA, WME, UTA, ICM, Gersh, Innovative Artists, Paradigm, Brillstein Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Independent Talent Group (UK) and United Agents (UK).
The Company also works on a regular basis with many of the major players in the film finance community. In the past few years Blue Rider has been involved with banks such as Hanmi Bank, Riverstone Pictures, The Fyzz, Ingenious Group, Aperture Media, Comerica, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank Leumi, Pacific Mercantile, Bank of Ireland, Union Bank, City National Bank, Allied Irish Bank, HSBC, LHO/Imperial Capital Bank, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada and National Bank of Canada. Additional financing partners have included the William Morris Agency, Future Films (UK), Matrix (UK), Invicta (UK), Gasworks (Isle of Man) and Delux Films (Luxembourg). The Company has long-standing relationships, with all of the major completion bond companies, including UniFi, Film Finances and European Film Bond and production insurers, Dewitt Stern and AON, as well as Entertainment Partners (EP) for payroll.
Blue Rider has interacted successfully with the US states which provide tax credit incentives and numerous countries where it has produced its films or has assisted with financing, including most of the provinces in Canada, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Eastern Europe and Puerto Rico.
During three decades of a rapidly changing industry, Blue Rider Entertainment has consistently met the challenges of independent film production, financing, and distribution, and it continues to grow.
THE COMPANY NAME
Der Blaue Reiter (German for “The Blue Rider”) was an art movement started by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky in Europe just after the turn of the 19th-to-20th century. The artists who took part were considered to be the pioneers of abstract art, and their work was characterized by exuberant color and profoundly felt emotion. Coming from a number of European countries, the painters, writers, poets and composers who joined The Blue Rider dedicated themselves to the search for a common spiritual basis in a new international culture.
The first exhibitions of The Blue Rider included works by movement founders Kandinsky and Marc, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Henri Rousseau, Robert Delaunay, Arnold Schönberg, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh. These artists, who early in their careers broke from the mainstream, were later to become the driving force behind modern art as we know it today.
"We work with a number of companies, and we are particularly interested in doing business with those who offer commitment and speed in execution—which Blue Rider always does. When they are called upon to act, there are usually a lot of things up in the air, so the production companies are pleased that they make quick decisions and that they are quick at documenting the transactions and getting cash flow advanced to the producers, who are inevitably facing critical deadlines.
It is not unusual for a production to encounter rough spots as they are getting to a close, and Blue Rider has always been very collaborative in finding solutions to problems.
They are very knowledgeable about the business. I have seen Blue Rider step into situations that others found too risky, and they had the risk profile, experience and know-how to help our customers make it work.
Another thing about Blue Rider that I appreciate is that they will rapidly tell us if the deal is not right for them, so we are not spinning our wheels. And when it is right, they will jump in and make it happen, intelligently and efficiently.
Walter is very gregarious, and very easy to work with. He is very customer-friendly. On occasion, Blue Rider has been willing to provide some capital before all documentation was fully completed, and our customers really appreciated that."
(President UniFy Completion Guarantors)
"Blue Rider is very, very cognizant of its investment group and make sure it takes good care of them. As far as I am concerned it is the top bridge financer serving the independent film industry. It is the company many independent producers turn to first, and it is the one I invariably recommend."
(Former Exec. VP/Manager, Entertainment Industry Division, Mercantile National Bank)
"In a business where people often talk but don't really deliver, Blue Rider's Walter Josten and Jeff Geoffray are exactly the opposite: they always deliver-often beyond what they promised. With their considerable expertise as both lenders and producers, they are able to take projects that are really on the brink of disaster and if the picture should be made, they make it a reality."
Kathy Morgan, president
(Kathy Morgan International)
"They are extremely knowledgeable about the independent film business: in the actual production process, in the financial process (working with banks and other lending institutions) and in working with investors. They can put together a bridge loan and then couple that with banking and other forms of investment - with integrity and great skill."
(Founder LHO and president of Horwitz Entertainment Financial Services)
"During a time when many other independent producers have proven themselves to be short-term players, Blue Rider has consistently performed - on better than 70 movies for more than 20 years. They have an amazing track record. They always deliver exactly what they say they will - and I don't know of any other producers I can say that about."
(Former COO and Co-President, Lions Gate)
"This film might not have gotten made without Blue Rider. In November 2005, 78% of the investors who had signed on for the film fell out - and we producers were left holding the bag. Fortunately, Blue Rider came through with a timely bridge loan that allowed us to begin production. We paid that off early in 2006, and then that summer Blue Rider made us a smaller post-production loan that allowed us to finish the film."
(Producer, Rescue Dawn; Director, Gibraltar Entertainment)
"Blue Rider played the critical role of saying 'yes' and putting their financial resources behind the movie. Their early commitment to the film gave us the momentum to push it forward. Blue Rider provided bridge and super-gap loans to the film. Their agreeing to do the film got us financed and took us from a theoretical movie to a real movie. They bridged us until the overall loan was closed. So both the promise of money and its actual arrival were crucial in making this film happen."
(Producer, Then She Found Me)
"Working with Blue Rider is a pleasure. They understand the problems and timelines that independent producers face when they are putting together the financing for their films. They bridge financed several of my films and I always found them knowledgeable, helpful and (most importantly) compassionate."
(Founder of Overseas Film Group, co-president of The Little Film Group)