Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director and writer Rodney Rothman (top, left) has teamed up with former MGM co-president of production Adam Rosenberg to launch a new production company, Modern Magic, with the mission to “create innovative animated and live action ‘event entertainment’ for [a] 21st-century audience.”
What Modern Magic will produce: The company currently has 20 features and series in various stages of development, including both original projects and adaptations of existing intellectual property. Its projects aim to move “fluidly between mediums, genres, platforms, and creators of all kinds, and wants their storytelling to be surprising, immersive, and rich.”
How the company will distinguish itself from other animation producers: Rothman, who directed Into the Spider-Verse with Peter Ramsey and Bob Perscihetti, has laid out a bold mission statement for how he wants to push animation with his new company:
Helping lead the team that made Into the Spider-Verse was a life-altering experience that forever changed what I thought was possible. We’ve started Modern Magic to keep going and see what else a motivated, ragtag group of artists can accomplish when they take the leap. Commercially, we see a worldwide animation audience that understands it is a medium for smart, great, limitless, multi-genre storytelling, and, as Spider-Verse proved, doesn’t need to be confined to the kid & family audience or a 30-minute sitcom. There’s a massive audience looking to see every boundary pushed; for that audience, anything is possible. It doesn’t have to look real as long as it feels real. And we know from experience how excited the creative community is about the opportunity to explore new mediums to express the emotion, artistry and humanity critical to 21st-century storytelling.
Current projects: Modern Magic has announced three projects in development: a feature inspired by the music of the late rapper Juice WRLD with Jaboukie Young-White (The Daily Show, Dating & New York) on board to write; a reggaeton-driven feature based on the SXSW-winning animated short Nuevo Rico by Kris Mercado; and an “offbeat, subversive” live-action comedy feature that Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary, A Black Lady Sketch Show) is currently writing for Sony Pictures.
More about Rosenberg and Rothman: In his role as co-president of production at MGM, Adam Rosenberg oversaw films like Creed 1 & 2, Candyman, Bad Trip, The Magnificent Seven, and Fighting with My Family. He is an executive producer on the upcoming Samaritan and Creed 3. He will handle the business side of Modern Magic, explaining that, “Our projects are designed to sit at the intersection of entertainment, culture, and technology, and what we do in animation feeds into our distinct take on live action.”
In addition to Spider-Verse, Rothman has been a producer and writer on 22 Jump Street, The Five-Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Popstar, and Get Him to the Greek, as well as head writer on The Late Show with David Letterman, for which he received five Emmy nominations. He is currently attached to write and direct 24 Jump Street. “It’s the next movie in the Jump Street franchise,” Rothman says, “but it’s taken us so long to pull together we decided to skip over 23 Jump Street and pick up the story one movie later.”