Lionsgate has acquired the home entertainment distribution rights to WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, a new animated series from Marvel Ent, extending the current relationship between the two companies.
Lionsgate will retain the United States home distribution rights to all 26 half-hour episodes of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN,(a co-production with Toonz Ent., Singapore and First Serve International), scheduled to air on Nicktoons Network beginning in January 2009.
"As evidenced by the recent success of IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK in theatres, there is nothing hotter in Hollywood than Marvel's amazing lineup of superheroes," said Lionsgate Exec VP of Marketing and Family Entertainment Anne Parducci. "We have had tremendous results with our Marvel animated features and this deal reflects the next chapter in our on-going relationship. These series' are based upon proven entities on the big screen and DVD and they will feature a similar animation style to the Marvel DVD's we are currently releasing."
Since 2004, Lionsgate has partnered with Marvel for original animated direct-to-DVD features based upon specific characters in the Marvel Universe, including ULTIMATE AVENGERS 1 and 2, DOCTOR STRANGE and THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. Each of these titles has debuted as the number one children's non-theatrical release for the week and cumulatively they have shipped more than three million units. The next Marvel animated features -- NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW -- will be released on September 2.
The companies also have a theatrical relationship, which began in April 2004 with Lionsgate's release of THE PUNISHER starring Thomas Jane and Rebecca Romijn. Lionsgate will also be releasing THE PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, a re-imagining of THE PUNISHER in theatres this December.
Lionsgate has made recent agreements with family entertainment producer HIT Ent. to distribute LeapFrog Enterprises and consumer products company MGA Ent. for Little Tikes. The company expects its family home entertainment market share of non-theatrical product to grow to approximately 15 percent, positioning Lionsgate as one of the three industry leaders in that space.