Michael Bay’s new 451 Media Group has received a strategic investment from China’s premier animation, toy, and entertainment group Alpha Animation and Culture. The financing will help Bay launch his new company, which will specialize in developing IP and turning premium content from Hollywood’s top creative minds into mega-transmedia brands.
451 was co-founded by Transformers director Bay; John and Anthony Gentile, creators of such global toy and entertainment brands as Micronauts, Visionaries, Sky Dancers, and Power Glove; and Douglas Nunes, who serves as the company’s COO.
“It’s a great opportunity to shape and develop entertainment properties that lend themselves to numerous platforms, an ability to cultivate franchises” said Bay, who has already enjoyed great success in China. The latest instalment of his Transformers franchise was an official Chinese co-production made more than $300 million in China, making it the top-grossing film in that country’s history.
This also marks the second big Hollywood-China announcement of today alone, following the confirmation of the STX-Huayi partnership.
Alpha Animation and Culture is one of China’s leading toy manufacturers distributing for Hasbro and Mattel. As part of its investment, Alpha will have key distribution rights and merchandising rights to properties developed and launched by 451 Media within Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
“This strategic long-term partnership will marry 451’s creative capabilities in entertainment and merchandise with Alpha Animation’s expertise and reach in mobile, entertainment, media, and toy distribution within China,” said Nunes. “We have assembled an incredible team of talent and are looking forward to announcing an equally incredible team of strategic partners who share the same long-term vision on building a new portfolio of properties and brands with global appeal.”
“This a very well executed partnership within the emerging Chinese entertainment and toy industry bringing together the strength of both companies in the areas of original IP development for global audiences, product design, animation development and mobile and online channel creation,” said Solon So, President of Alpha Pictures.
451 Media is repped by WME. The company has already inked partnership deals with the likes of screenwriters Scott Rosenberg (Con Air), Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), best-selling author George Pelecanos (The Wire) to develop IP. The deals will be structured to provide opportunities for revenue participation that writers and artists normally don’t receive.
George Lee and Marcus Englefield of LA based Storyoscopic Films along with Richard Wong of Asia Action Entertainment were instrumental in putting together the deal between 451 and Alpha and will continue to be involved creatively.