EXCLUSIVE: Legion M, the fan-owned entertainment company known for backing specialty film titles like Mandy and Colossal, has formed a broad film and TV partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.
The arrangement will see the two companies jointly source, develop and produce community-driven, original content. The deal will also offer fans the opportunity to potentially invest and receive equity in the projects. CSS Entertainment, which owns established film distributor Screen Media, will gain exclusive rights to several TV series in the works at Legion M, while Legion M will participate in forthcoming Screen Media film titles.
Initial titles on the partnership slate include POSITV, a weekly package of uplifting news and unscripted fare curated by the Legion M community; sketch comedy competition show Comedy Royale; the Shark Tank-esque entrepreneur show Up$ide; and weekly music showcase New York Rock Exchange. Another series, simply titled Legion M, brings a TV audience element to the crowdfunding arena, as creators pitch TV or film concepts to an audience whose members decide on where to invest their production dollars.
Elana Sofko, the COO of CSS Entertainment, said the collaboration with Legion M reinforces the roots of Chicken Soup as a company. Its flagship line of bestselling books, which hit the market in the early 1990s, were an early form of crowd-sourced content, presenting a selection of inspiring stories from real people.
Sofko also noted that the two companies have similar make-up and missions. “What we don’t need to do is protect a legacy business,” she told Deadline in an interview, “that could be hurt by an evolution or a revolution.” Agreed Legion M co-founder and CEO Paul Scanlan, “Both our companies are really well positioned to take advantage of disruption.”
Screen Media has recently released films like Bel Canto with Julianne Moore, The Mercy with Colin Firth and Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer, an animated title featuring the voices of Josh Hutcherson, Samantha Bee and Martin Short. In addition to Screen Media, CSS Entertainment also owns ad-supported VOD service Pocornflix as well as subscription service Pivotshare.
CSS Entertainment has several series in production, including Vacation Rental Potential, season four of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Hidden Heroes. Netflix is currently streaming Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Being Dad.
Legion M’s development slate includes the feature film and comic book Girl With No Name, and original TV series such as Evermor, Airship Cowboys and Malice. The company has also partnered on films such as Mandy with Nicolas Cage, Colossal with Anne Hathaway and Bad Samaritan, which was directed and produced by Dean Devlin.