Last Friday, studio owner/executive creative director Erin Sarofsky of eponymous Sarofsky held a party to celebrate the theatrical release of Disney/Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” for which her company, the underdog from Chicago, won the job of creating the titles. She and her 70 guests then went to see the movie in 3D at the ICON Theatre.
“It was a terrific experience, being in a packed theatre on opening night,” Sarofsky says. Especially gratifying was seeing her company’s nine artists listed on the end credits. The longer-than-usual number achieved “by doing some negotiating with the studio.”
With its record-setting $96.2 million weekend gross, coupled with the $72 million already earned from overseas, “Captain America” is close to recouping its entire $200 million budget
Over the past 11 years that the native New Yorker has worked in Chicago – the first six at Digital Kitchen, the last five under own her banner — Sarofsky created and produced of eight movie and 15 TV titles. They include Showtime’s “Shameless,” NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” ABC’s “Happy Endings” and AMC’s “The Killing.”
She was brought into “Captain America” last November by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, clients and friends, whom she met in 2009 when Sarofsky produced titles for their NBC show, “Community.”
Sarofsky was invited to pitch “Captain America” titles, before Thanksgiving, she recalls. The next day dark horse Sarofsky and a team of four select artists flew to LA to meet with the major players and see a rough cut of the movie.
Eight days later they flew back to LA for the pitch, with concepts that included collaboration with famous comic book artist David Mack, competing against four famous LA companies.
During the pitch, she says, “We were in a roomful of people who probably were thinking, okay, a new company’s been thrown into the mix, how’s that going to work?”
It worked just fine. “By the time we landed at O’Hare, we got the word,” she says. In February, they sent deliverables of the two minute, very design-heavy titles to the studio.
(Sarofsky cannot publicly display the titles until after the Blu Ray is released in May.)
While Sarofsky is becoming famous for high-profile movie titles, 80% of its business comes from commercials, she says. Among them, Illinois Lottery for Downtown Partners, Horizon via MRM Worldwide and Motorola for O&M.
“We specialize in design-through-production, anything that includes any combination of live action, visual effects, animation, all shot with a designer’s eye. All very over the top, very Pytka-esque,” she says.
Sarofsky, who started her company shop in her apartment in January, 2009, has 14 full time employees working out of a 6,000-sq. ft. building she owns at 1506 W. Fulton. The company moved into the building last November, just before “Captain America” called.