A month after his exit as President of the Warner Bros Television Group, Bruce Rosenblum has joined Legendary Entertainment as President of newly launched Legendary Television and Digital Media. In his role, Rosenblum will help set up a business model for Legendary’s expansion into television and digital as it plans to produce programming across linear and non-linear “on-demand” platforms globally and pursue global digital distribution of its content for broadband, mobile and emerging technologies. The division will function autonomously, without the backing of a studio as Legendary, a well-capitalized company valued at $3 billion, mulls its next move as its partnership with Warner Bros on the feature side is up at the end of the year.
This represents a much bigger and more ambitious foray into television than Legendary’s first entry into the space in 2011, when the company launched a TV division in conjunction with a development/production deal at Warner Bros Television, the TV studio which was under Rosenblum’s purview. A year and a half later, Legendary opted to proactively end the deal and dissolve the TV division headed by Jeremy Elice, with sources citing Legendary management’s reservations towards the traditional TV development model, which they felt was not for the company, which tends to produce content in non-traditional ways. At the time, Legendary did not shut the door completely and indicated it still intended to enter the TV space, which it is now doing in a major way. I hear Legendary had been looking for the right executive to lead their ambitious expansion in the TV and digital arenas and began talking to Rosenblum when he became available. “Bruce has an outstanding track record in the business, and he will be instantly additive to the team in our efforts to continue to make world-class content for consumers, however and wherever they access that content,” said Legendary’s founder and CEO Thomas Tull, to whom Rosenblum will report.
Rosenblum brings to Legendary nearly three decades of executive experience. Meanwhile, Legendary is coming off yet another tentpole success with the huge opening for Man Of Steel this past weekend.
EXCLUSIVE: After just more than a year in the job, Tim Connors has been let go as Chief Operating Officer of Legendary Entertainment. Sources close to situation confirmed his departure, and that the position has been … Read More »
The deal with Waddell & Reed brings Legendary Entertainment‘s total 2012 raise to $720 million. This investment will go toward “growth and working capital across its filmed entertainment and publishing divisions” as well as digital, merchandising and TV, the company said. Here’s the release:
Burbank, CA, December 18, 2012 –Legendary Entertainment has completed an equity financing transaction with the investment management affiliates of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR) totaling approximately $443 million in aggregate proceeds. The announcement was made today by Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull.
Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. is one of the oldest investment management companies in the United States and is parent company to Ivy Investment Management Company and Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company, manager to the Ivy Funds and Waddell & Reed Advisors Funds, respectively. The investment in Legendary will reside within the Ivy Asset Strategy Fund, the Waddell & Reed Advisors Asset Strategy Fund and other portfolios utilizing the same investment strategy.
Legendary plans to allocate proceeds from the transaction towards growth and working capital across its filmed entertainment and publishing divisions, and to build out further opportunities in the digital, merchandising and television sectors.
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2ND UPDATE 11:15 AM: Legendary just sent out the announcement that it has finalized an agreement to purchase Nerdist Industries.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE 9:30 AM: Legendary Entertainment heading into Comic-Con has set a new deal with multiplatform fanboy outfit Nerdist. My sources say huge comic book fan Thomas Tull will be stepping up his existing early investment in Nerdist and actually making an all-out acquisition. But co-owner Peter Levin (my pal) wouldn’t do a deal that stripped him and the other co-owner Chris Hardwick of autonomy for the editorial business. Now they will report to Legendary Entertainment COO Tim Connors. The strategy is that the addition of the Levin and Hardwick digital prowess would add more firepower to the Tull war-chest. Hardwick and Levin will continue in their current roles within Nerdist, and will also take on the roles of Co-Presidents of Legendary’s digital business with Hardwick serving as Co-President Digital Content and Levin functioning as Co-President Digital Strategy. They will work closely with Legendary’s executive management team on event management and comics-related operations. The deal calls for Nerdist to maintain complete editorial autonomy and operations, while benefitting from Legendary Entertainment’s resources and platform as the company continues to offer up quality fanboy content to audiences around the world. Nerdist was founded in 2008 by Hardwick — a comedian, author, podcaster, new media personality and AMC’s The Talking Dead host. In 2011, Nerdist and Levin’s GeekChicDaily merged to form Nerdist Industries with Hardwick serving as Founder and Chief Creative Officer while digital media entrepreneur Levin became CEO of the new company. Read More »
Veteran investment fund manager Gordon ‘Gordy” Crawford is retiring from Los Angeles-based Capital Group at the end of the year. Crawford was a key figure in Capital’s numerous entertainment business … Read More »
UPDATE: I understand that Legendary Entertainment founder/chief Thomas Tull took an extraordinary role in personally (and unusually) wheeling-dealing these 2 equity and debt financing deals. Fideltity Investments also is one of the major investors on the equity side, but Morgan Stanley was the … Read More »
I hear Marvel is fine with this move to Legendary Entertainment. Tim Connors has been there from the beginning but “it was time for him to move on,” an insider tells me. I’ve just learned exclusively that taking his place at Marvel Studios will be David Galluzzi whow as recently promoted to chief counsel and now will be assuming Connors’ business affairs role, too. And the remainder of Connors’ duties will be assumed by Rob Steffens who is EVP Of Operations And Planning for Marvel Entertainment and is General Manager of Operations And Finance for Marvel Studios. This move bolsters Steffens’ role at Disney where I hear he’s well-liked and being groomed for bigger things. None of this is in the Legendary press release below:
Burbank, CA, February 9, 2012 – Legendary Entertainment has appointed Tim Connors to the role of Chief Operating Officer for the company, it was announced today by Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull. Connors, who arrives at Legendary from Marvel, will report to Tull and manage day-to-day operations for the company including business affairs working closely with President and Chief Creative Officer, Jon Jashni.
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EXCLUSIVE: Bill Paxton is in talks to direct Kung Fu, a screen adaptation of the classic 1972 TV series that starred David Carradine. Paxton, who’s coming off a run in the HBO series Big Love, gets the job after helming … Read More »
The move to add former Procter & Gamble president, chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley to its board of directors is the latest significant one for Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment, which has been ramping up in all areas as part of its evolution from a co-financier of Warner Bros films to an enterprise generating its own films released by Warner Bros. The company has also recently branched into TV and comics, and it formed the stand-alone company Legendary East, which is based in Beijing and Hong Kong and will create content for the global marketplace. Most recently, Legendary promoted Jon Jashni to president. Lafley joins Tull, Jim Breyer, Larry Clark, Dick Cook and Joe Roth on the company’s board. Here’s today’s release: Read More »
Castings continue on Legendary Entertainment’s Paradise Lost, the action- and effects-centered take on John Milton’s epic poem being directed by Alex Proyas. The latest: Diego Boneta, who is playing the lead in New Line’s musical Rock Of Ages, has been … Read More »
BREAKING: Legendary Entertainment chairman and CEO Thomas Tull has promoted Jon Jashni to president, a new post. Jashni, a veteran executive and producer who joined Tull six years ago, will continue to function as chief creative officer and has been a big part of Legendary’s evolution from a co-financier of Warner Bros films to an enterprise that is generating its own films that are released by Warner Bros. Legendary’s rise has been fueled by being partner in such films as The Hangover, Clash of the Titans, the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy and Inception, as well as the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel. Tull’s company is generating its own tent pole films, including the Guillermo del Toro-directed alien-invasion film Pacific Rim that stars Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba, and a reboot of Godzilla. Jashni is a producer on those films as well as the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost that will star Bradley Cooper and Benjamin Walker, and the Sergey Bodrov-directed The Seventh Son, which stars Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes. Read More »
This announcement about another Hollywood-China deal was just posted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange website in the past hour. It follows Legendary Entertainment’s June news that it formed Legendary East, a stand-alone entertainment company creating feature film and related content for a worldwide audience. Legendary East is based in Hong Kong, with Chinese management and international investors as well as Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment. Today, Legendary East announced the investment vehicle to inject $220.5M of cash from Paul Y Engineering Group Ltd by issuing new shares on the Hong Kong stock market. The investment would allow Legendary East to become a fully funded studio operating from China. ”A key feature of this structure is that it provides liquidity for those investors in Legendary East that are investing through PYE because PYE’s shares are publicly traded on the HKSE,” an insider emails me. Legendary East is led by CEO Kelvin Wu and Tull, its chairman who is also chairman/CEO of Legendary Entertainment. As previously announced, China media conglomerate Huayi Media will take a key role as local Chinese production and distribution partner and investor in Legendary East. Here’s today’s release: Read More »
Legendary Entertainment has named Ty Warren as its new SVP Production. He had been SVP Production at Raleigh Films, where he started Raleigh’s Production Services and formed strategic alliances in all of the studio’s locations including Budapest, Detroit, Baton Rouge … Read More »
UPDATE: The announcement was made today in Beijing by Tull and Huayi Brothers CEO Wang Zhongjun, and Huayi Brothers President, Wang Zhonglei. Legendary East’s films will be developed as co-productions with Huayi Brothers, who will distribute the movies in China. Distribution in all other parts of the globe is anticipated to be handled by Warner Bros Pictures, because of its longstanding relationship with Legendary Entertainment. Legendary East initially plans on producing one to two event-style films for worldwide audiences annually beginning in 2013.
The announcement also marks Legendary Entertainment’s formal entrance into the Chinese marketplace. According to Tull’s statement, Legendary East will be led by an experienced management team with significant experience working with Hollywood studios as well as with Western and Chinese entertainment companies. The Legendary East senior executive team will be comprised of Thomas Tull, Executive Chairman; Kelvin Wu, Chief Executive Officer; and Joel Chang, Chief Financial Officer.
Huayi Brothers Media alone contributed 30% of the domestic Chinese film box office in China in 2010 (17% of the overall domestic B.O.). Established in 1994, it is the leading integrated entertainment conglomerate in China and has produced 43 films since 1998. It successfully went public in Chinese A-share market in 2009, becoming the “first stock” of Chinese entertainment industry. Huayi Brothers has nine integrated branches including film, teleplay, artist agency, music, cinema, video game, entertainment marketing, cultural tourism and new media. But film remains its core business.
PREVIOUS: I’ve learned that Thomas Tull is in Beijing now to make the announcement of the new Hong Kong-based company, which will be a separate standalone venture from his U.S.-based Legendary Entertainment. The new company will produce English-language feature films and related content for a worldwide audience in conjunction with the Huayi Brothers who now become shareholders as well as local production and distribution partners. Legendary East Ltd will have Chinese management and international investors as well as Legendary Entertainment’s experience producing and financing films. Read More »