Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment (A Beautiful Mind) has tapped veteran kids exec Stephanie Sperber (pictured) to run its newly launched kids and family division.
As president of Imagine Kids & Family, Sperber will lead development and production on premium animated and live-action feature films, original TV series and short-form content. The company is seeking partnerships with established and emerging creative talent.
Sperber will also continue to serve as CEO of White Space Entertainment, the California-based licensing agency she founded that develops kids franchises—including STX Entertainment’s Uglydolls brand—through consumer products and digital gaming. The company, which already had an existing relationship with Imagine, will now support all CP opportunities for Imagine Kids & Family.
Prior to forming White Space in 2015, Sperber spent nearly 18 years working at NBCUniversal, most recently as president of global consumer products, gaming, partnerships and product placement for Universal Pictures. In this role, she was instrumental in growing the Despicable Me/Minions franchise into a multi-billion-dollar worldwide retail program. But Sperber started out her career as director of marketing for Turner Broadcasting’s Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.
Imagine’s move into kids entertainment is not its first. Last May, the company struck a five-year deal with Aussie studio Animal Logic and Toby Emmerich’s Warner Bros. film division to co-produce and co-finance a slate of animated and hybrid family films. This pact expanded on an original five-year deal signed by Imagine and Animal Logic in 2017 to develop and produce six feature-length animated and hybrid family films with target production budgets between US$75 million and US$85 million.
Before that, Imagine’s forays into family entertainment included the Howard-directed feature film How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and Emmy-winning TV series Curious George (2006 to 2015).