Escape Artists is an independently financed motion picture and television production company with a first look non-exclusive deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment, headed by Partners Steve Tisch, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal. In 2001, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthalís Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Company to form Escape Artists. The first produced movie under the Escape Artists banner was A Knightís Tale, starring Heath Ledger in 2001. In the fall of 2005, Escape Artists released The Weather Man, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Nic Cage and Michael Caine. Their next film, The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino and starring Will Smith, was released in December of 2006 and earned over $300 million in worldwide ticket sales, as well as best actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Will Smith. Seven Pounds, another Gabriele Muccino directed film starring Will Smith, was released in December of 2008. In 2009, Escape Artists released the Alex Proyas thriller Knowing starring Nic Cage and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta. Their latest project entitled, The Back-Up Plan, directed by Alan Poul and starring Jennifer Lopez, released through CBS Films, is in theatres now.