Later today Trey Parker and Matt Stone are going to declare their new Important Studios open for business (press release is below). On Monday, reports the New York Times, the South Park and Book of Mormon co-creators will announce a new production studio. “Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves,” the Times quotes the yet-unreleased Important Studios press release from the duo. Parker and Stone will use revenue from their very successful South Park, now in its 16th season on Comedy Central, and their Broadway blockbuster Book of Mormon to fund Important Studios to produce TV, Theater and Feature film projects – like a movie based on their Tony Award winning musical. But it’s not just their money on the table. In a deal partially orchestrated by WME’s Ari Emanuel, boutique bank The Raine Group have reportedly $60 million in Important Studios for approximately 20% of the company. WME has an investment itself in the media and sports focused bank. Both Parker and Stone are themselves both represented by WME.
NEW YORK, NY (January 14, 2013) – Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the co-creators of “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon,” and The Raine Group, a boutique merchant bank focused exclusively on entertainment, digital media and sports, announced today the formation of Important Studios, a new venture consolidating Parker and Stone’s creative work and future projects into one company.
Important Studios will look to build on the duo’s unmatched success across the film, television, live stage, and digital platforms. Raine will take a minority stake in the company, providing advisory services as well as financing for future projects. Important Studios plans to continue the growth of the “South Park” and “Book of Mormon” franchises, create new content across different media, and expand distribution of Parker and Stone’s work worldwide.
“Trey and Matt are unique content creators, having built two iconic global media brands. They have established themselves as thought leaders in the entertainment and digital world, while at the same time using satire to make their audience aware of critical social issues,” said Joe Ravitch, co-founder of the Raine Group. Jeff Sine, co-founder of the Raine Group added, “It has always been core to Raine’s thesis to align ourselves directly with extraordinary content creators, and we are excited to partner with Trey and Matt to create new global entertainment properties.”
“Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves,” said Parker and Stone. “We hope to work with ourselves for a long time and are excited to now work with ourselves in a much greater capacity.”
Parker and Stone are the co-creators and executive producers of “South Park,” which began airing in 1997 and has won four Emmy Awards as well the Peabody Award. South Park, the longest-running animated series on cable, is now in its 16th year. Comedy Central is owned by Viacom’s MTV Networks. Parker and Stone are also the co-creators, along with “Avenue Q’s” Bobby Lopez, of the hit musical, “The Book of Mormon.” The show is currently completing its second year on Broadway. The Book of Mormon launched its first national tour in August, a third company in Chicago in December, and a West End production is opening on March 21, 2013. “The Book of Mormon” received nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical and Best Director for Parker; the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards; four Outer Circle Awards; the Drama League Award for Best Musical, as well as the GRAMMY Award for Best Musical Theater Album. In addition, Parker and Stone’s work on the film “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” has earned them an Oscar nomination, as well as an LA Film Critics Award, a NY Film Critics Award, and an MTV Movie Award.
The Raine Group has in excess of $500 million in assets under management and has completed a number of principal investments, including multimedia producer Vice Media, browser-based games giant Jagex, celebrity–curated ecommerce platform OpenSky, global multimedia fitness leader Zumba Fitness, leader in electronic transcript exchange Parchment, and event producers C3 Presents.
Parker and Stone were represented by their longtime lawyer Kevin Morris of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman, P.C. and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The Raine Group was represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.