ZAG Entertainment founder Jeremy Zag has joined forces with influential Harry Potter filmmaker Chris Columbus, his 1492 Pictures producing partner Michael Barnathan, and Saban Brands founder Haim Saban to launch ZAG Animation Studios, a new joint-venture with a slate of 10 original family features already in the hopper.
The family-oriented studio will operate out of ZAG Entertainment’s brand-new, state-of-the-art facility in Glendale, California, and is on tap to develop, produce and distribute one 3D-animated film and one CGI/live-action hybrid film per year beginning in 2017.
Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Home Alone, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Pixels) and Zag will co-direct the studio’s first feature entitled Melody. Additional titles being lined up include CGI/live-actioner Ghostforce and full-CGI feature Abominable.
More details about the slate are expected soon and plans are in the works for themed consumer products. Saban Brands is tasked with managing the global licensing and merchandising programs for the films, while Saban Group is handling all distribution and marketing strategies.
Since the launch of ZAG Entertainment, the company has grown steadily in the global kids and family entertainment business with divisions located in Europe, the US and Asia and expertise spanning TV, movies and games.
ZAG’s subsidiary prodco Zagtoon, which launched in 2009 when Zag partnered with Jacqueline Tordjman, has gone on to produce 200 half hours of original animated content for TV, which has been sold to broadcasters in more than 120 territories.
ZAG is also set to co-produce the new Popples series with Saban Brands, slated exclusively for Netflix late next year.