Paris, France-based Method Animation, film prodco Onyx Films and Chapter 2 have merged to form On Entertainment, a new audiovisual production group with a focus on animation series and feature films, as well as live-action movies.
The new company, which officially came together in late 2013 and will remain headquartered in Paris, has also joined forces with France-based AB Group. It will handle global distribution of On-produced youth series (excluding films) via On’s Method Animation label and may also act as a potential co-producer of future On programs.
Breaking down the three labels’ duties, Method will produce On’s kids animated TV series, Onyx will produce animated movies and Chapter 2 will produce live-action features.
Led by the founders of Method and Chapter 2, Method CEO Aton Soumache and Chapter 2 CEO Dimitri Rassam, On has received investment funding from Ohana Capital, AB Group and Laurent Dassault (LDRP). Approximately US$13.6 million has been raised by On so far.
In terms of production strategy, On expects to launch two to three high-end, CG-animated or hybrid series and two French movies (one animation, one live-action) every year. It also plans to release one animated movie and an international live-action theatrical feature every 18 months. On has yet to determine which of its future live-action movies will be family-based.
Returning Method kids series carried over to On include The Little Prince, Marvel co-production Iron Man, Le Petit Nicolas, and Chaplin, while programs in development include Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Ladybug (in production), hybrid series The Seven Dwarfs and Me, and Super 4 based on the toy IP Playmobil.
A feature film version of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda), is also set to launch worldwide in late 2015 with a budget of US$77 million.
Total combined revenue of Method, Onyx and Chapter 2 in 2012 was US$46 million, with production volume of US$98 million.
When reached for comment, Soumache couldn’t reveal the shareholder split of On Entertainment, but says he and Rassam hold a majority stake of approximately two-thirds.
He also says India’s DQ Entertainment, a shareholder in Method Animation, will continue to hold its 20% stake in On. Paris-based PGS Entertainment, which has distributed many Method properties including The Little Prince, will also remain in the distribution fold along with AB.
Soumache adds that the company reorganization will see some new hires to develop new business and a green light committee will be introduced. On currently has offices in Paris, Montreal and Luxembourg, and plans are in place to launch an office in L.A. for 2015.