LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The launch of a venture between Haim Saban (Chairman and CEO of Saban Capital Group and Founder of Saban Brands), Chris Columbus (Writer, Director and Academy Award® nominated Producer), Michael Barnathan (Academy Award® nominated Producer) and Jeremy Zag (Founder of ZAG Entertainment LLC), marks the birth of ZAG Animation Studios.
This influential team will lead the studio in developing, producing and distributing high quality, global feature film family entertainment franchises, to include one 3D animated film and one CGI-live action hybrid film per year, starting in 2017. ZAG Animation Studios will operate out of ZAG Entertainment’s brand new, state-of-the-art campus in Glendale, California.
“This is an incredible moment for our business as we partner to create a world-class animation studio that will produce extraordinary feature films,” said Haim Saban, of Saban Capital Group and Saban Brands. “ZAG Animation Studios will deliver creative and compelling family entertainment for generations to come.”
ZAG Animation Studios has a slate of 10 original family features in development, comprised of both full CGI animated films as well as CGI-live action hybrids. The studio’s first feature, Melody, will be full CGI, co-directed by Chris Columbus and Jeremy Zag. Additional films in the line-up include: Ghostforce, a CGI-live action hybrid, and Abominable, in full CGI. More details on the line-up will be announced soon and will include a full collection of themed consumer products. The Saban group will be responsible for the coordination of all distribution and marketing strategies while Saban Brands will handle worldwide licensing and merchandising for the films.
“After all of these years, it's fantastic to start a new venture that brings together talented artists from around the world under Jeremy's excellent leadership and Haim's brilliant international business experience,” said Chris Columbus, renowned for his blockbuster successes, including the Harry Potter franchise, the Night at the Museum franchise, the Percy Jackson franchise, The Help, Mrs. Doubtfire and Home Alone.
“We are thrilled to build an animation studio with the youthful genius that Jeremy brings and the experienced business guidance of Haim Saban,” said Michael Barnathan, acclaimed as a producer of the Harry Potter franchise, the Night at the Museum franchise, the Percy Jackson franchise and The Help. “Jeremy Zag is a force of nature. He's one of those rare talents that comes along and inspires everyone he meets.”
“I am so honored and excited to collaborate with these amazing entertainment legends that influenced my childhood with their incredible works,” said Jeremy Zag. “This powerful venture, with an unprecedented dream team, will inevitably set the stage for a powerful new player with a world-view perspective in the family entertainment arena.”
About Jeremy Zag
Jeremy Zag is the founder and CEO of ZAG Entertainment, a private firm specializing in kids and family entertainment franchises. ZAG’s multiple divisions include production companies and animation studios – located in Europe, the United States and Asia – that develop TV series, movies and games. Its animated TV division, ZAGTOON, was created in 2009, in partnership with Jacqueline Tordjman, and has since produced almost 200 half-hours of original content which have been sold to major broadcasters in over 120 territories. All ZAGTOON series benefit from the involvement of worldwide Master Toy partners. Other divisions include ZAG Pictures, ZAG Digital and ZAG Records.
About Haim Saban
Haim Saban is CEO of Saban Capital Group, Inc., founder of Saban Brands and Saban Films and chairman of the Spanish-language media company, Univision. Saban Capital Group is a private investment firm specializing in the media, entertainment and communications industries. Saban Brands was established to acquire, manage and license entertainment properties and consumer brands globally. Saban Films was founded to acquire and distribute independent feature films.
About Chris Columbus
Chris Columbus is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author of the House of Secrets trilogy. He is currently directing Pixels for Sony staring Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan. He is also known for directing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. He has produced Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and the upcoming third installment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. He has also written the screenplays for Gremlins, Goonies and Young Sherlock Holmes, among others.
About Michael Barnathan
Michael Barnathan is the Academy Award® nominated producer of The Help. He has also produced or executive produced Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and the upcoming third installment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. He is also producing the upcoming Pixels for Sony staring Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan. Barnathan is also President of 1492 Pictures, which has a partnership with Ocean Blue Entertainment.