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Boat Rocker Media buys stake in Dakota Johnson, Ro Donnelly’s TeaTime Pictures

Dakota Johnson (left) and Ro Donnelly

Toronto-headquartered studio Boat Rocker Media has acquired a minority equity stake in US-based production company TeaTime Pictures, led by actor and producer Dakota Johnson and former Netflix executive Ro Donnelly.

Under the deal, TeaTime Pictures will continue to operate as an independent business, with Boat Rocker providing capital and business and strategic support. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement will also result in Katie O’Connell Marsh, vice-chair of Boat Rocker’s Studios division, stepping down from her role at the Canadian company in order to join TeaTime Pictures as a partner.

At the same time, Marsh will continue to collaborate with Boat Rocker through a newly inked overall deal. In addition, she will continue to be an executive producer on Boat Rocker’s current slate of scripted projects.

The equity investment is an expansion of Boat Rocker and TeaTime Pictures’ business relationship. When TeaTime launched in October 2019, it did so with a first-look TV deal in place with Platform One Media, which was later rebranded under the Boat Rocker Studios banner.

There are currently several series in development under that first-look deal, including an adaptation of Bexy Cameron’s memoir Cult Following, with Cameron penning the adaptation and Johnson attached to star.

TeaTime’s other recent credits include the feature films Cha Cha Real Smooth and Am I OK?, both of which are set to screen at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The company is also producing the dramatic feature Daddio, with Johnson and Sean Penn starring.

Johnson, whose screen credits include 50 Shades of Grey and Suspiria, said: “As a company that was founded purely on ambition, big dreams and our shared love of film and television, Ro and I could not be more excited to partner with Katie O’Connell Marsh, whose wisdom and expertise are vital to our growing brand. We are grateful and extremely eager to hit the ground running.”

Boat Rocker, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, also has first-look deals in place with Lena Headey’s Peephole Productions, Stephanie Langhoff’s High Tide Productions, Dr Ibram X Kendi’s Maroon Visions and Shamier Anderson and Stephan James’ Bay Mills Studios.

“Our strategic investment represents a natural evolution in our partnership, our broader corporate growth story playing out, and an unyielding commitment to empowering creative visionaries,” said David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg, co-executive chairmen of Boat Rocker Media and co-chairmen of Boat Rocker Studios, in a joint statement.

“We’re excited about this opportunity and are actively exploring making similar deals with leading creators.”

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