Another day, another animation studio jumping headfirst into what must be a pretty packed-in pool right now.
According to Variety, Saban Capital Group (holders of the English-language rights to Digimon and Power Rangers) is teaming up with well-known filmmaker Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson films) and entertainment entrepreneur Jeremy Zag to form a new animation company, Zag Animation Studios.
The studio will start developing and producing films in 2017 with the aim of having at least one CG-animated and one CG/live-action film a year. Their first fully CG-animated film is titled Melody, which will be co-directed by Chris Columbus and Jeremy Zag. Two other films down the pipeline include Ghostforce, a CG/live-action hybrid, and the CG-animated film Abominable.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Chris Columbus has tried to break into animation. A long time ago, he actually had an adaptation of his short-lived animated TV series Galaxy High set up at Vanguard Animation (of course, that was before Vanguard folded under mysterious circumstances).
Interestingly enough, Columbus will play an active role in most of the films the Zag produces, even when he’s not in the director’s chair. In effect, this makes his position at Zag not too dissimilar to John Lassater’s role at Disney as the overseer on their projects.
The company does plan to distribute their films through a major studio and is currently in discussion with potential partners. And according to Andre’ Lake Mayer, a spokeswoman for Zag Animation Studios, they have also secured funding to develop the films.
“The model is to create global franchises with many projects being developed for both TV and film so they can be merchandised on a global basis,” said Mayer.
As properly fitting with their ambition, Zag has a current slate of at least 10 features in development. Their headquarters will be based in Glendale, California, where the ‘big three’ heavy hitters Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks reside.
“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 Haim Saban, head of Saban Capital Group and Saban Brands.
Want to hear something mind-blowing about this? With this news, that now makes four new animation companies that have sprung up this year (Brazen Animation, 3QU Media, Splash Entertainment, and now Zag Animation Studios), Whether by way of being newly formed (like 3QU and Zag) or having grown to house feature film divisions (Brazen and Splash). I guess I wasn’t kidding when I said that Pixar would indeed be coming back to a sea of brand new faces.
As always, how well Zag manages to hold their own in what’s now becoming a more competitive playing field will definitely be something to watch.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to any of their projects? What are your thoughts about this new ‘boom’ in feature animation?