Big news for fans of Japanese anime, and the business behind it. Toei Animation — Japan’s largest animation production company — plans a major foray into the U.S. market with a live action film, Gaiking, based on a world-famous anime character universe. This also represents the first development deal for All Nippon Entertainment Works, a public-private partnership designed to help the country’s entertainment producers expand across the globe. They’re teaming up with Valhalla Entertainment (which developed and produces AMC’s The Walking Dead) which will develop and co-produce the film derived from a series about a young man who pilots a super-robot — which in this case must save the world from alien invaders. “Gaiking has long been one of the most beloved giant robot animation franchises with a global fan base,” says Toei Animation’s Yoshi Ikezawa. The company wants the feature film “to be the first of many more to come from Toei’s large stable” of properties. There’s no release date yet. The backers plan to target the fanboy and fangirl audience that turned out for hits such as Marvel’s The Avengers and Paramount’s Transformers. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment has hired its first dedicated TV executive. Stacey Levin has joined the company as VP Television to oversee development of series projects in drama, comedy and reality for cable and broadcast networks. Valhalla also has promoted Creative Executive Kris Henigman to Director of Development and upped Hurd’s former assistant, Phillip Kobylanski to Story Editor.
The staff expansion comes on the heels of Valhalla signing an exclusive pod deal with Universal Cable Prods. in April, the company’s first overall TV deal, as Valhalla looks the build on the success it has had with its first primetime series, AMC’s hit The Walking Dead, which Hurd executive produces. “Stacey has proven her ability to collaborate creatively and effectively on a wide array of projects in different genres with various networks,” says Hurd. “She will be invaluable to us as we expand our television production slate.”
Levin comes to Valhalla from UCP, where she has been Director of Development since May of 2011, working closely with the companies that have pod deals there, Hypnotic, Tagline and Valhalla Entertainment. She also oversaw the Hypnotic/UCP comedy series I Just Want My Pants Back. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Route One Films has acquired rights to The Nameless from Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment. The action thriller is set in a top-secret facility that houses witnesses awaiting new identities. When the area’s location is compromised, a U.S. Marshal and the town’s inhabitants must take a stand against assassins determined to execute the key witness in an upcoming trial. Valhalla exec Kris Henigman brought in and spearheaded development on Chris Bullett’s script. At the end of last year, Route One — led by managing partners Jay Stern, Russell Levine and Chip Diggins — announced production financing from their participation in the $110 million Sovik Global Contents Fund based in South Korea. “This is exactly the kind of smart, mainstream film we want to make, and we are thrilled to be working with Gale and her team at Valhalla,” the Route One principals said. Megan Hughes was instrumental in Route One’s involvement in Nameless, which is being executive produced by Mike Goldberg and Josh Adler.
Valhalla, which just inked a pod deal with Universal Cable Prods, developed and produces AMC’s The Walking Dead as well as projects including the upcoming FX pirate series Port Royal on the TV side. In film, its credits include Armageddon and The Incredible Hulk. It currently is working on the upcoming Halloween horror film Hellfest for CBS Films with Neil Marshall directing, as well as the Dakota Fanning-Elizabeth Olsen pic Very Good Girls.
Bullett is repped by Gersh and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment has inked an exclusive pod deal with Universal Cable Prods. This marks the first overall TV deal for Valhalla, which will develop and produce projects for both cable and broadcast networks, including UCP’s NBCUniversal siblings USA and Syfy. The agreement builds on the success Valhalla has had with its first primetime series, AMC’s smash The Walking Dead, which Hurd executive produces. Under the deal, Hurd and her executives will work with UCP’s development team — SVPs Richard Rothstein, Chris Sanagustin and Maira Suro — who oversee the studio’s development for USA, Syfy and external networks, respectively. The trio noted that Valhalla “shares our creative commitment, passion for great stories and desire to produce efficiently.” Hurd, who has not worked with USA and Syfy, pointed to UCP’s decision last year to expand into producing for broadcast in addition to cable. “We have double the opportunity to create a diverse slate of projects,” she said. Read More »