Dargaud picks up Ellipsanime
Aiming to lighten its parentco’s debt burden, Studio Expand (part of beleaguered French media conglom Vivendi-Universal) has sold its animation studio Ellipsanime to French publisher Dargaud. Though no financial terms have been released, the agreement sees Dargaud assume ownership of all of Ellipse’s animated properties, including Babar and Tintin. Ellipsanime joins Dargaud’s existing animation and production unit Dargaud-Marina, comprised of Marina and Millésime, which Dargaud merged in 2000.
Stan Lee joins forces with DIC
With several of his creations yielding blockbuster box-office returns this year (i.e. Hulk, Daredevil and X-Men 2), comic book legend Stan Lee is ready to turn his attention to the small screen. Lee and his new company Pow! Entertainment recently inked a multi-year deal with L.A.-based DIC Entertainment to co-develop and co-produce a raft of boys action projects for TV.
Grouped under the Stan Lee Universe brand, the properties will be led by Stan Lee’s The Secret of the Super Six – a superhero story about six alien teens who, with the help of a reclusive comic book artist (to be played by Lee), try to adapt to life on Earth. DIC will oversee global distribution and licensing for all of the properties that flow from the partnership, and plans to shop The Super Six at MIPCOM next month.
DIC CEO Andy Heyward says the opportunity to partner with Lee gives the company immediate cachet in the boys action arena. ‘In terms of kids brands that can really drive consumers to a product, there are only three names that come to mind – Walt Disney, Jim Henson and Stan Lee, and Stan is the only one in the boys action category.’
Miramax and Lego re-up for a second Bionicle DVD
Though the direct-to-DVD title Bionicle: Mask of Light won’t hit stores until September 16, Lego and Miramax Films have already greenlit a second CGI DVD feature based on the toyco’s top-selling line of constructible action figures. In addition to co-producing Bionicle: The Mask MakerTM, Miramax will also handle worldwide distribution. As with Mask of Light, Create TV & Film (formerly Lego Media) will return to co-produce the second feature, due out in fall 2004. Currently, Miramax, Lego and Create are also developing a theatrical feature based on the toy brand, which was named Most Innovative Toy of 2002 by the American Toy Industry Association.