The Weinstein Co. (TWC) is getting more animated with a new brand of direct-to-video CG feature length films, UNSTABLE FABLES, being produced by The Jim Henson Co. (JHC), Flame Ventures and Prana Studios, with screenplays be overseen by Roger S.H. Schulman (SHREK, MULAN II). The new Unstable Fables brand offers irreverent versions of well-known classic tales and incorporate modern twists on the stories. The first titles being produced are based on GOLDILOCKS, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS and BILLY GOATS GRUFF.
Production is scheduled to begin in September 2006. The Weinstein Co. will distribute the films through its affiliate Genius Products Inc. JHC, Flame Ventures and Prana Studios will oversee the development and the CH animation will be produced by Prana's facility in India. JHC's co-ceo Lisa Henson, Flame's ceo Tony Krantz and Prana Studios will produce. Production executive Eric Robinson will oversee the projects on behalf of TWC. Glen Basner will be selling the international rights on behalf of TWC International.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein stated, "The Jim Henson Co., Tony Krantz and Prana Studios are all incredibly talented and make one impressive team for Unstable Fables. These films will be time honored and give a new generation of fans the chance to discover these classic tales, especially supported by the enthusiasm of fans all over the world who grew up with the originals. Prana was part of the team we worked with on HOODWINKED and they did an outstanding job and we are thrilled to be continuing our relationship with them."
"As The Jim Henson Co. continues to expand further into animation, we are thrilled to have such supportive enthusiasm from The Weinstein Co.," said Lisa Henson. "Producing this series with gifted creative partners like Prana and Flame allows us to maintain the highest standards of quality expected from a Jim Henson Co. production and make it available to a home video audience."
Krantz added, "Working with Lisa Henson and The Jim Henson Co. and one of the world's premier overseas animation companies, Prana, is a thrill. Add Harvey to the mix and you have magic. The idea of creating an evergreen library of CG animated family titles is an extraordinary creative and business opportunity."
Parina's ceo/co-creative director Kristin Dornig said, "Prana is built on a commitment to world-class, high-quality CG animation. To have The Weinstein Co. validate our efforts with this deal is a great step for our artists and for Prana. We're looking forward to working with creative and talented partners in The Jim Henson Co. and Flame Ventures and are thrilled to be a part of Unstable Fables."
The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products have been working together to build a library of titles for home video distribution since December 2005 when the two companies entered into an exclusive distribution agreement.
Michelle Krumm, evp of acquisitions and co-productions, brought the projects and partnership to TWC. Barry Littman, evp of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of TWC. Negotiating on behalf of JHC were its president, Peter Schube, and vp of business and legal affairs, Dan Scharf. Graham Taylor of Endeavor, and Harold Brown and Bianca Levin of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown negotiated on behalf of Flame Ventures. Harold Brown of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown negotiated on behalf of Prana Studios.
The Jim Henson Co. (www.henson.com), an established leader in family entertainment for nearly half a century, is recognized worldwide as a leader in puppetry, animatronics and computer graphics. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Co.), Henson is the recipient of nearly 50 Emmy Awards, nine Grammy Awards and two Oscars. Credits include the Saturn Award-winning FARSCAPE: THE PEACEKEEPER WARS and the features FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, GOOD BOY and MIRRORMASK. The company also produced the television feature, THE MUPPETS' WIZARD OF OZ, for Buena Vista Television. Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices and production facilities in New York and London, the company has most recently completed post-production on its first fully-animated project, FRANCES.
Krantz owns the multi-faceted production company, Flame Ventures. In addition to television projects of all kinds, new media and transactional marketing, Flame has expanded into the direct-to-DVD market, creating two new brands of three initial films each: Raw Feed with John Shiban and Dan Myrick for Warner Home Video, and Unstable Fables for The Weinstein Co.
Krantz was the founding partner of Imagine Television along with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Imagine Television produced SPORTS NIGHT, FELICITY, THE PJS (featuring the voice of Eddie Murphy), WONDERLAND, THE BEAST and 24. Before Imagine, Krantz worked at CAA for 15 years, having started in the mailroom, representing writers, directors, actors, musicians and production companies. Krantz has personally packaged multiple Emmy winners, including ER, TWIN PEAKS, MELROSE PLACE, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 and THE WEST WING. On the feature side, Krantz packaged the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or-winning, WILD AT HEART and THE DOORS. Krantz also produced David Lynch's Oscar-nominated film, MULHOLLAND DRIVE.
Prana Studios Llc./Prana Studios Pvt. Ltd. is an artist driven, 3D animation and visual effects studio based in Los Angeles with a production facility in Mumbai, India. Founded in April 2003, by Arish Fyzee, Dornig and Pankaj Gunsagar, Prana has quickly distinguished itself as the high-quality creator and supplier in CG animation in India. Prana produced 100% of the lighting and complete shot finaling, as well as 350 visual effects shots, on last year's animated hit film, HOODWINKED. Prana is providing the complete production of a CG animated franchise movie for a major U.S. studio.
Genius Products produces and distributes an ever-expanding library of home entertainment products including DVDs and CDs. Sold in retail outlets nationwide under such well-known brands as Wellspring, Sundance Channel Home Ent., NBC News and Baby Genius, the company's products are distributed through the Genius Products Branded Distribution Network, an extensive, proprietary distribution network that extends throughout the U.S. to mass, drugstore, supermarket and specialty retailers. Genius Products boasts a premiere management team comprised of seasoned executives, formerly with major Hollywood studios, who have steered the company into the forefront of the industry through their landmark exclusive distribution deal with TWC.
Upcoming films planned for release by Genius Products include films by TWC such as THE MATADOR, starring Pierce Brosnan; DOOGAL, a comical animated adventure with the voices of Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy; TRANSAMERICA, starring Felicity Huffman; David Zucker's hilarious new sequel, SCARY MOVIE 4; and THE LIBERTINE, starring Johnny Depp. Potential new releases include a sequel to SIN CITY, SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, CLERKS II and BOBBY.
The Weinstein Co. (www. weinsteinco.com) was created by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films Corp. in 1979. TWC is a multi-media company that officially launched on Oct. 1, 2005. Dimension Films, the genre label that was founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein, is also included under the TWC banner.