Will Packer is an American film producer and founder of Will Packer Productions and Will Packer Media, who has an estimated net worth of $60 million.
He is considered one of the most commercially successful Black film producers, generating over $1 billion in worldwide box office sales.
Will Packer Net Worth
Will Packer has amassed considerable wealth even at a relatively young age. He began turning profits early in his career when his first film, TROIS. He produced on a shoestring $50,000 budget, grossing over $1.2 million. As of 2024, Will Packer has an estimated net worth of $60 million.
Will’s initial indie productions in the early 2000s were moderately successful. Also, his real inflection point came with 2007’s Stomp the Yard, which grossed $75 million on a $13 million investment. However, as Packer’s brand and track record grew, so did the size of his film budgets and paychecks.
By 2014, when he signed his first-look deal with Universal Pictures, Packer’s reputation as a producer guaranteed financial returns. Under this deal, films like Straight Outta Compton, Ride Along 2, and Girls Trip have netted huge profits. Besides, it happens due to their modest budgets and record-breaking box office runs.
Early Life and Education
Will Packer was born in 1974 in St. Petersburg, Florida. He attended Florida A&M University, where he studied Electrical Engineering. However, he soon found himself more interested in filmmaking and media production. Packer started creating videos and TV shows with his fraternity brothers during college. This early exposure sparked his passion for visual media and content creation.
After graduating from Florida A&M University in 1996, Packer worked several media jobs before pursuing filmmaking and launching his own production company.
In 1994, while still in college, Packer and his friend Rob Hardy created Rainforest Films, initially as a video production company. They used camcorders to film events at their university, which allowed them to start honing their technical skills.
After Packer graduated, he moved to Atlanta, where he began promoting concerts and live events. His big breakthrough came in 2000 when he produced his first film, TROIS, which grossed over $1.2 million from a $50,000 budget. This success gave him the confidence to pursue filmmaking full-time.
Over the next few years, Packer produced several moderately successful indie films like The Gospel and Motives. While these were small blockbusters, they demonstrated Packer’s efficiency in producing commercially viable films on a budget. This skill would prove invaluable later in launching bigger mainstream productions.
Rise to Fame
Packer’s first major smash hit came in 2007 when he produced the film Stomp the Yard, starring rapper Ne-Yo. The film was made on a $13 million budget and grossed over $75 million worldwide. The success of Stomp the Yard marked Packer’s entry into Hollywood’s mainstream.
He followed up this success by producing films like This Christmas (2007), Obsessed (2009), starring Beyonce Knowles, Takers (2010), starring Idris Elba, and Think Like a Man (2012), based on Steve Harvey’s book. Many of Packer’s films featured predominantly Black casts and showcased stories rooted in Black culture and experience.
But the movie that cemented Packer’s blockbuster credentials was Ride Along, starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. Made on a $25 million budget, Ride Along grossed over $150 million in 2014, breaking records for a January opening weekend. The film further established Packer as a master of translating small and moderate budgets into outsized box office rewards.
While Will Packer had achieved modest success with his early indie films, the real breakthrough came in 2007 when he produced the dance drama Stomp the Yard. Packer helped finance the $13 million production through his company Rainforest Films and brought on board director Sylvain White.
Starring an ensemble cast including R&B singer Ne-Yo, Stomp the Yard follows a street dancer who enrolls in a fictional historically Black college and gets embroiled in their heated fraternity dance competition. The film authentically captured historically Black college culture, Greek life, and the world of underground dance battles.
Stomp the Yard opened No. 1 at the U.S. box office in January 2007, grossing over $22 million in its first weekend. That was a rarity for Hollywood films featuring predominantly Black casts. The film remained No. 1 for two weeks straight while audiences turned out in droves to watch the electrifying dance sequences and dramatic storytelling grounded in Black experiences.
Sources of Income
Will Packer has accumulated his vast fortune through various sources rooted in his entertainment company ventures. As founder of hitmaking production houses like Will Packer Productions and Will Packer Media, he has crafted several lucrative income streams.
Packer’s primary source of wealth comes from backend points he negotiates as a prolific producer on various films and TV shows. He has mastered the art of maximizing value from his content ownership rights. So, while initial budgets on his films may seem modest, Packer’s points can lead to a huge upside once box office receipts and distribution deals start flowing.
Packer also monetizes his intellectual property across multiple distribution channels. Recent deals with Universal Studio Group offer nine-figure pacts that give the media giant access to Packer-owned content across digital platforms, streaming video-on-demand, broadcast and cable TV etc.
Packer entered a lucrative first-look production deal with Universal Pictures, further bolstering his Hollywood profile in 2014. Under the deal, Universal gets priority on all of Packer’s film projects, which they can opt to bankroll, distribute and profit from. For Packer, the deal ensured a reliable, high-profile partner for expanding his vision.
Packer has also been heavily involved in TV Production. In partnership with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, he executive produced the hit primetime soap opera The Haves and the Have Nots starring John Schneider and Tika Sumpter. First aired in 2013, the drama is currently the highest-rated show on OWN after eight successful seasons.
Beyond just film and TV, Packer has been outspoken about the lack of diversity in Hollywood’s executive ranks. To address this, Packer launched William Packer Media in 2015 – a cross-platform production company designed to showcase new diverse voices in digital media.
Will Packer has been married twice. His first wife was Nina Packer, whom he married in 2001. The couple have three children: one son, Dominique Packer and two daughters, Maya Packer and Nija Packer. However, Will and Nina split in 2009.
After his divorce, he married his second wife, Heather Hayslett, in 2015. Currently, the couple lives in Atlanta and has no children together. Heather is a former IBM executive. She is now dedicated full-time to raising his husband’s two young children. After dating through college at Florida A&M University, Packer credits his wife Heather with supporting him emotionally and financially during the early risky days he started in the film industry.
FAQs on Will Packer Net Worth
How did Will Packer get his start in the film industry?
Will Packer started while still a college student at Florida A&M University. In 1994, he and his friend Rob Hardy founded a video production company called Rainforest Films. They used camcorders to film events on campus to hone their technical skills.
What was Will Packer’s breakthrough film?
Packer’s career breakthrough happened in 2007 when he produced the dance movie Stomp the Yard, starring singer Ne-Yo. The film grossed a sensational $75 million, fueled by strong word-of-mouth in Black communities.
How much is Will Packer net worth?
Will Packer’s current net worth is around $60 million. He has amassed This wealth from backend profits, producing over a dozen films since 2000, grossing over $1 billion worldwide.
Will Packer has established himself as Hollywood’s undisputed king of box office success through clever investments, a keen understanding of markets, and breakout filmmaking talent.
His ability to blend business savvy with cultural authenticity has fueled much of his historic billion-dollar climb. And with more films lining up and a thriving production company behind him, Packer’s entertainment empire seems poised to thrive for the next generation.