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Brett Ratner
Brett Ratner 2012 Shankbone.JPG
Ratner at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Born (1969-03-28) March 28, 1969 (age 53)
Education New York University
Occupation Film director, producer
Years active 1987–present
Known for RatPac Entertainment
Rush Hour
Prison Break
Red Dragon
X-Men: The Last Stand

Brett Ratner (born March 28, 1969) is an American film director and producer. He directed the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He is also a producer of several films, including the Horrible Bosses series, The Revenant and War Dogs.

Ratner got his start directing with music videos in the 1990s, and directed his first motion picture, Money Talks, in 1997. Overall, the films Ratner has directed have earned over $2 billion at the global box office. Ratner is the co-founder of RatPac Entertainment, a film production company. Ratner led RatPac's partnership with Dune Entertainment in September 2013 for a co-producing deal with Warner Bros. that included 75 films. RatPac Entertainment has co-financed 81 theatrically released motion pictures exceeding $17 billion in worldwide box office receipts. RatPac’s co-financed films have been nominated for 59 Academy Awards, 25 Golden Globes and 43 BAFTAs and have won 25 Academy Awards, 8 Golden Globes and 24 BAFTAs. In January 2017, Ratner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture industry, located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.

Early life

Ratner was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, the son of Marsha Presman and Ronald Ratner. He grew up in a "middle-class Jewish family".

His grandfather was d-CON mail order rat poison company founder and real estate developer Lee Ratner. His mother was born in Cuba, and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s with her parents, Fanita and Mario Presman (their families had originally moved to Cuba from Eastern Europe).

Ratner's mother was sixteen when he was born. Ratner has said that he "really didn't know" his biological father, and that he considers Alvin Malnik, a lawyer and businessman with alleged organized crime ties who opened the famous Forge restaurant in Miami Beach, to be his father, "the one who raised" him. Malnik was a friend of Lee Ratner and not romantically involved with Marsha Presman.

Ratner's biological father became homeless in Miami Beach, a situation which inspired the younger Ratner to become a board member of the nationwide nonprofit organization Chrysalis, which helps the homeless find work.

Ratner attended Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy elementary school and attended Alexander Muss High School in Israel and graduated in 1986 from Miami Beach Senior High School. While growing up in Miami Beach, Ratner was an extra on the set of Scarface and was able to watch Miami Vice film around town. Shortly before Ratner's high school graduation, his mother and biological father married with the intention of legitimating his status.

He is a 1990 graduate of New York University. In 2010, he cited Martin Scorsese's 1980 film Raging Bull as his inspiration to enter the world of film.

Career

Directing

Ratner began directing music videos in the 1990s. When he was a sophomore at New York University Tisch Schools of the Arts, he was manager and executive producer for B.M.O.C. (Big Man On Campus), one of the first white rap groups. While a student at NYU, he released his first short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?. The rap group Public Enemy attended the film's premiere and asked Ratner to make the group's music videos. Ratner did the debut videos for Prime Minister Pete Nice before working with Redman, LL Cool J, Heavy D and Wu-Tang Clan. He has also directed music videos for artists such as Mariah Carey Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z and was scheduled to direct a video for Michael Jackson before its production was cancelled. He directed Carey's "We Belong Together", "I Still Believe", "Obsessed" and "Heartbreaker" among others.

Ratner had his motion picture debut when he directed Money Talks in 1997. The film, an action-comedy about a con-man accused of organizing a prison break, was Ratner's first collaboration with comedian Chris Tucker. The film's budget was $25 million.

In 1998, he directed Rush Hour, the action-comedy starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, which was released in September 1998 and went on to become the studio's highest-grossing film and the highest grossing comedy at the time. Ratner uses music on the set to inspire the production, and when filming Rush Hour, a Michael Jackson song he played for inspiration ended up in the movie after Chris Tucker began dancing in the middle of a scene.

Ratner directed The Family Man, a drama starring Nicolas Cage, in 2000.

In 2001, Ratner directed Rush Hour 2. In 2002, he directed the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, about Hannibal Lecter.

In 2004, Ratner directed After the Sunset, starring Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek. The action comedy film revolves around a master thief pulling off one last big score, with an FBI agent in hot pursuit.

In 2006, Ratner directed X-Men: The Last Stand, then directed Rush Hour 3, which was released in 2007.

Ratner directed a television commercial for Wynn Las Vegas featuring Steve Wynn on top of Encore Las Vegas in 2008.

In the same year, Ratner also directed the ensemble comedy caper Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. The film was originally based on an idea from Eddie Murphy titled 'Trump Heist' and was about disgruntled employees of Donald Trump planning to rob Trump Tower, though references to Trump were later removed from the film.

In early 2021, Ratner announced that he will direct a long-gestated Milli Vanilli biopic, which would be his first project since 2014's Hercules, for Millennium Media. In February 2021, Millennium Media stated it would not be moving forward with Ratner's project.

Producing

Ratner was an executive producer of the television series Prison Break, which aired from 2005 to 2009.

In 2011, Ratner produced the TV documentary, American Masters: Woody Allen – A Documentary. That same year, he produced Horrible Bosses, a comedy about employees plotting to kill their bosses. Horrible Bosses opened at the domestic box office with $28.1 million in its first weekend.

Ratner produced a remake of Snow White, Mirror Mirror (2012), based on the screenplay The Brothers Grimm: Snow White by Melisa Wallack.

In 2014, he produced Horrible Bosses 2, the sequel to his 2011 film. Ratner executive-produced the Rush Hour TV series based on the Rush Hour film series.

In 2015, Ratner produced Black Mass, a biopic about gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, played by Johnny Depp. The same year, Ratner was executive producer of The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

He was an executive producer on the 2016 film War Dogs, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller.

RatPac Entertainment

In December 2012, Ratner and Australian media mogul James Packer formed a joint venture, RatPac Entertainment. The firm will produce independent films and co-produce big-budget films with a major studio. Packer's stake in the company was later bought out by Len Blavatnik's First Access Entertainment. The company makes 25 films annually. By 2017, the company co-financed over 50 films which had 51 Oscar nominations and earned a total of over $10 billion in box office.

RatPac and Dune Entertainment formed a film investment vehicle, which in September 2013, entered a multi-year, 75-film co-producing partnership with Warner Bros. The company has also partnered with New Regency, advertising firm WPP, Chinese firm CMC Capital Partners, and Shanghai Media Group. Ratner worked with CMC to form a fund aimed at investments in Chinese media companies.

Ratner made $40 million after the release of Gravity, which was RatPac's first investment.

In June 2014, Ratner's RatPac Entertainment and Class 5 Films acquired the movie rights to the non-fiction article "American Hippopotamus", by Jon Mooallem, about the meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910 to import hippopotamuses. The film was produced by Ratner in collaboration with Edward Norton and William Migliore.

On April 18, 2017, Access Entertainment, a subsidiary of Access Industries, acquired James Packer's ownership stake in RatPac. The next year, Warner Bros. announced that they were cutting ties with the company with Rampage as the final film to be co-financed by the company with Warner Bros., and also the final film produced by RatPac overall. In November 2018, RatPac-Dune's minority ownership stake in a library of 76 Warner Bros. films was put up for sale, with investors in the fund backing the library to cash out. Vine Alternative Investments made a high bid for the library, but in January 2019, Warner Bros. exercised their rights to match the bid for the library and essentially acquired RatPac-Dune's stakes. The cost was estimated at nearly $300 million.

Screen appearances

Ratner was seen on MTV series Punk'd when Hugh Jackman, who portrays Wolverine in the X-Men films, was the subject of a practical joke that made it appear Ratner's $3.6 million home in Beverly Hills was destroyed by a BBQ grill explosion. Ashton Kutcher later arrived at his home and hugged him.

In April 2007, Fox announced that he, Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall and Jon Avnet would be the judges for the network's filmmaking-competition/reality TV series, On the Lot.

He also appeared as himself in an episode of the television series Entourage, which was shot at his Beverly Hills home,

In 2009, Ratner created The Shooter Series which compiled his work, including interviews with Ratner, and a short film about Mickey Rourke's transition into boxing.

Other projects

In 2009, Ratner established Rat Press, a publishing company. The company reissued an interview with Marlon Brando and Robert Evans as well as an account of NFL player Jim Brown, and released a book of Scott Caan's photographs.

In 2011, Ratner established Rat TV with 20th Century Fox Television. He brought former NBC development executive Chris Conti on as president of the venture.

Ratner announced the Brett Ratner Florida Student Filmmaker Scholarship at the Key West Film Festival in 2015. The $5,000 scholarship was awarded to The Cook, The Knife and The Rabbit's Finger, which was directed by Agustina Bonventura and Nicolas Casanas.

Ratner worked with international beverage brand Diageo to produce The Hilhaven Lodge, a blended whiskey named for his Beverly Hills estate. The bottle is modeled after the estate and features a wood cork, and the bottle is shaped to resemble bay windows. The drink is a mixture of 26-year-old rye, 15-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and six-year bourbon.

Ratner delivered a keynote address as part of the Cannes Film Festival in May 2017 where he referred to television as the future of production. Ratner participated in the eighth annual Cannes Film Finance Forum.

In March 2017, Ratner spoke out against film critic aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes at the Sun Valley Film Festival, calling it a destructive force in the film industry. He expressed respect for traditional film critics and said the site reduces film criticism to a number.

Ratner has served on the boards of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, Chrysalis, Ghetto Film School, Best Buddies and the Los Angeles Police Foundation. He served on the dean's council of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and also serves on the board of directors of Tel Aviv University's School of Film and Television. He donated $1 million to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in 2013.

Filmography

Film

As director

Year Title Notes
1997 Money Talks
1998 Rush Hour
2000 The Family Man
2001 Rush Hour 2
2002 Red Dragon
2004 After the Sunset Also producer (uncredited)
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand
2007 Rush Hour 3
2009 The Shooter Series: vol. 1 Direct-to-video
2011 Tower Heist
2014 Hercules Also producer

Short films

Year Title Notes
1990 Whatever Happened to Mason Reese Also screenwriter and producer
2001 Lady Luck
2008 New York, I Love You Segment "5"
2013 Movie 43 Segment "Happy Birthday"

As producer

Year Title Notes
2001 Double Take
2002 Paid in Full
2005 Before, During and 'After the Sunset' Video documentary
Santa's Slay
2006 Running Scared
Becker Hargrove, Inc. Short film
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner
2009 I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale Documentary short
2010 Mother's Day
Kites English-language version
2011 Horrible Bosses
2012 Mirror Mirror
CZ12 Uncredited
2014 Night Will Fall Documentary
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild,
Untold Story of Cannon Films
One Day Since Yesterday:
Peter Bogdanovich & the Lost American Film
Horrible Bosses 2
2015 Barely Lethal
The 100 Years Show Documentary short
Chuck Norris vs. Communism Documentary
I Saw the Light
S is for Stanley Documentary
Fun Size Horror: Volume Two Short film
In the Name of Honor Documentary
Truth
The Audition Short film
2016 Dark Crimes
Before the Flood Documentary
Rules Don't Apply
Author: The J.T. Leroy Story Documentary
2019 Georgetown

As executive producer

Year Title Notes
2001 Velocity Rules Short films
2002 Me and Daphne
A Ribbon of Dreams
2006 End Game Direct-to-video film
2008 21
2010 Catfish Documentary
Skyline
2014 The Water Diviner
Jersey Boys
2015 By Sidney Lumet Documentary
Black Mass
Kill Them Mommy! Short film
The Revenant
2016 War Dogs
2017 The Lego Ninjago Movie

Television

TV movies

Year Title Director Executive
producer
Notes
1999 Partners Yes Yes
2005 Untitled David Diamond/David Weissman Project Yes Yes
2007 Helmut by June Yes Documentary film
2008 Blue Blood Yes Yes
2009 Cop House Yes Yes
Prison Break: The Final Break Yes
2011 Rogue Yes Yes
Nick Cannon: Mr. Show Biz Yes Documentary film
2015 Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Yes

TV series

Year Title Director Executive
producer
Notes
1999 Making the Video Yes Documentary series
2005 Prison Break Yes Pilot episode
2007 Entourage Role: himself;
Episode "The Prince's Bride"
Women's Murder Club Yes
2011 CHAOS Yes
2014 30 for 30: Soccer Stories Yes Yes
2015 Breakthrough Yes Documentary series
Rush Hour Yes
2017 American Masters Yes

Music video

Year Title Artist
1987 "Christmas in Hollis" Run-D.M.C.
1988 "Louder Than a Bomb" Public Enemy
1993 "Rat Bastard" Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich
"Kick the Bobo"
"Stay Real" Erick Sermon
"Tonight's da Night" Redman
"Pink Cookies In a Plastic Bag Getting Crushed By Buildings" LL Cool J
1994 "Nuttin' but Love" Heavy D & the Boyz
"I'll Take Her" Ill Al Skratch featuring Brian McKnight
"I Like the Way You Work It" Blackstreet
1995 "Freek'n You" Jodeci
"Love U 4 Life"
"Every Little Thing I Do" Soul for Real
"Brown Sugar" D'Angelo
"Who Do U Love" Deborah Cox
"Cruisin'" D'Angelo
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Mary J. Blige
1996 "Lady" (DJ Premier Remix) D'Angelo featuring AZ
"Don't Wanna Lose You" Lionel Richie
1997 "I'll Be" Foxy Brown
"No Doubt" 702
"Invisible Man" 98 Degrees
"Triumph" Wu-Tang Clan
1998 "How Deep Is Your Love" Dru Hill
1999 "I Still Believe" Mariah Carey
"Beautiful Stranger" Madonna
"Heartbreaker" Mariah Carey
"Thank God I Found You"
2000 "This Could Be Heaven" Seal
2001 "Diddy" P. Diddy
2002 "Unbreakable" Michael Jackson
2005 "It's Like That" Mariah Carey
"We Belong Together"
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" Jessica Simpson
2006 "Make Them Suffer" Cannibal Corpse
"A Public Affair" Jessica Simpson
"Samantha" Courtney Love
2008 "7 Things" Miley Cyrus
"Touch My Body" Mariah Carey
"Just Like Me" Jamie Foxx
"When You Leave (Numa Numa)" (Basshunter Remix) Alina
2009 "Obsessed" Mariah Carey
"H.A.T.E.U."
2011 "Mrs. Right" Mindless Behavior
2015 "Infinity" Mariah Carey
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