The ‘toon world just got a little bit more crowded. The man who made billions of dollars from the network that brought Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the United States, and the man who directed or produced three Harry Potter pics have joined with a producer of The Help and a children’s programming entrepreneur to form ZAG Animation Studios.
Haim Saban, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and ZAG Entertainment’s Jeremy Zag’s new venture plans to produce at least one 3D and one CGI-live action pic a year starting in 2017. With a slate of 10 family films in the pipeline, the first release from ZAG will be Melody, co-directed by Columbus and Zag in full CGI.
Ghostforce, a hybrid of live action and CGI, and the full-CGI Abominable are also on the company’s slate for the next few years, taking on projects from industry heavyweights DreamWorks Animation, Disney Animation and Disney’s Pixar unit. In recent years, major studios such as Warner Bros, which had a big international success with The LEGO Movie, also have jumped into the ‘toon game, though with mixed results for some.
Obviously Saban, Columbus and crew think they’ve got a winning combo.
“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 Saban, now head of the Saban Capital Group and Saban Brands, in a statement today. “ZAG Animation Studios will deliver creative and compelling family entertainment for generations to come.” This is yet another move into the movies for Saban. Earlier this year, he started the indie oriented Saban 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,” added Columbus, who also produced or directed films in the Night At The Museum and Percy Jackson franchises among many other credits.
Looking to secure a distribution deal with one of the majors, ZAG will be located out of ZAG Entertainment’s Glendale headquarters.