Did you hear the news? Everyone's favorite forest-ranger game, Firewatch, is getting its own movie. In a video-game movie scene of Warcraft, Assassin's Creed, and several older films each with a heavy emphasis on action, the decision to make a Firewatch movie is a bit of a surprise.
But if the film's production company is any indication, Firewatch is in good hands. For those unaware, the Firewatch movie is being produced by Good Universe, a company which was founded in 2012 by Joseph Drake and one that already has a number of impressive titles under its belt.
Joseph Drake, however, also previously founded Mandate Pictures back in 2005. Between Mandate Pictures and Good Universe, I think Firewatch fans can rest easy that the film isn't being produced by just some random company that doesn't know what it's doing. If you need any more reassurance, though, allow us to go down the list of some of the companies' previous theatrical achievements.
1. 'Juno' (Mandate Pictures)
- Released: 2007
- Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera
- Accolades: Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress (Ellen Page) at the 2008 Academy Awards, among several others
Society is better for the adoption of "home skillet" as a form of social nomenclature, so I really don't know why the list has to go beyond Juno, to be honest. In all seriousness, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't heard of Juno, and even more so for finding someone who's seen it and didn't enjoy it. It's an excellent film and if there's anything that will instill people's confidence in Good Universe, this is likely to be it.
2. 'The Switch' (Mandate Pictures)
- Released: 2010
- Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Thomas Robinson
The Switch was admittedly met with lukewarm reviews, but anyone who's seen it will tell you that Bateman and Robinson give endearing performances that elevate any issues the film's script might have. It's a charming picture that's worth checking out for the performances alone.
3. '50/50' (Mandate Pictures)
- Released: 2011
- Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen
- Accolades: Nominated for both Best Actor (Gordon-Levitt) and Best Picture in the Musical or Comedy category at the 69th Golden Globe Awards
In a somewhat surprising turn to more dramatic work, Seth Rogen proved that he can pull off dramatic comedy better than most probably expected. While 50/50 was notoriously left out of Academy Award nominations, it still has made several top 10 lists and there are very few who wouldn't praise the film.
4. Young Adult (Mandate Pictures)
- Released: 2011
- Starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt
- Accolades: Virtuoso Award (Patton Oswalt) at the Santa Barbara International Film festival, Screenwriter of the Year (Diablo Cody) at the 2011 Hollywood FIlm Festival
Before kicking ass as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, one of Charlize Theron's many claims to fame was her role as Mavis in Young Adult. While the film wasn't a runaway hit by any means, it was critically received very well, and Charlize Theron's performance was top-notch yet uniquely audience-averse for a protagonist. It was a weird mix, but totally worked thanks to both the writing and the performances of all involved.
5. This Is The End (Mandate Pictures)
- Released: 2013
- Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, all of Hollywood
- Accolades: The film opened at number 2 in its first weekend
The Is The End is a weirdly meta film — in that the stars are all more or less fictionalized versions of themselves — that continually steps up the absurdity until the ending when (spoiler alert) everyone ends up dancing with the Backstreet Boys in Heaven. It's weird, but it's undeniably in the same wheelhouse as the actors' usual flair. Tonally, it's much different than the previous entries on this list, but it still proves that the Firewatch movie is in the hands of a company that can tackle big-budget Hollywood films.
6. 'Harold and Kumar' Franchise (Senator International)
- Released: 2004-2011
- Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn
The Harold and Kumar movies are the quintessential stoner films of this generation. The original may have been produced by Senator International (which eventually became Mandate Pictures) but the longevity of the series demonstrates a dedication to continued production on the producers' end.
7. 'Neighbors' (Good Universe)
- Released: 2014
- Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne
- Accolades: Rose Byrne for Best Actress in a Comedy (Nominated)
The last film on the list is also the most recent, and even managed to produce a sequel earlier this spring. While your mileage may vary with the movie itself, it's hard to deny that the films managed to make the most of their actors. Zac Efron has never felt more at home than he has in the Neighbors films — and this is the guy who wasn't afraid to bet on it in the High School Musical franchise.
If that roster of films weren't impressive already, Drake also served as President of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and is credited with the production of The Hunger Games and The Expendables. I think it's safe to say the Firewatch movie is in good hands.