Big Idea Entertainment

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC (formerly known as Big Idea Productions, Inc. and Big Idea, Inc.; also simply as Big Idea) is an American Christian animation studio best known for its computer-animated VeggieTales series of Christian-themed home videos.

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC
Subsidiary
FoundedFebruary 1989; 31 years ago (1989-02) (GRAFx Studios)
August 6, 1993; 26 years ago (1993-08-06) (Big Idea)
Founders
Headquarters
Key people
  • Mike Nawrocki
  • (executive vice president)
  • Leslie Ferrell
  • (general manager)
  • Tim Hodge
  • (director)
ProductsAnimated direct-to-video programs
Animated television series
Animated theatrical films
OwnerComcast
Parent

Founded in February 1989 as GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer, the company was renamed as Big Idea Productions in August 1993 and it released its first direct-to-video VeggieTales program in December. In 2002, Big Idea adapted the Biblical story of Jonah for its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, which was co-produced with FHE Pictures. Its second theatrical film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, was co-produced with Starz Animation and released in 2008. As of 2016, the company is a subsidiary of DreamWorks Classics, which in turn is owned by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast.

From 1989 to 2004, headquarters of Big Idea Entertainment was in Lombard, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago.[1] After Big Idea Entertainment declared bankruptcy in 2003 and the company was sold to Classic Media, headquarters was moved in 2004 to Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb outside of Nashville.[2] In 2012, DreamWorks Animation purchased Classic Media.[3] In 2013, DreamWorks began to oversee productions of Big Idea Entertaiment and launched the Netflix series VeggieTales in the House. After production of VeggieTales in the House’s sequel series entitled VeggieTales in the City wrapped in 2017, DreamWorks sold the Franklin Studio. After NBCUniversal brought DreamWorks in 2016, NBCUniversal relocated the headquarters of Big Idea Entertainment in 2018 to Tustin, a city in Orange County, California.[4]

HistoryEdit

Big Idea was founded in February 1989 under the name GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer to create graphics in television commercials.[5] In 1991, Vischer created a 12-second short film called Mr. Cuke's Screen Test. This short inspired him and Mike Nawrocki to create VeggieTales, with Nawrocki coming up with the name. Vischer thought the name "GRAFx" no longer suited a company about to create children's videos, so he renamed it as Big Idea Productions, Inc. on August 6, 1993.[5] The company released its first video, Where's God When I'm S-Scared? in December of the same year.

Rapidly running out of office space, Big Idea relocated to the Chicago suburbs in 1997 with the purchase of the DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois.[6] However, renovation delays, unforeseen building conditions, and lengthy zoning battles resulted. In the interim, the company was guided by Lombard City officials to rent space at the Yorktown Center, a local mall.

In a co-production with FHE Pictures, Big Idea released its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie on October 4, 2002.

On September 2, 2003, Big Idea declared bankruptcy after encountering management and financial issues and a lawsuit by HIT Entertainment in 2001. By the end of the year, it was auctioned off to Classic Media for $19.3 million.[7][8][9] After its purchase, the company relocated to Nashville in 2004.

Big Idea partnered with Toronto-based Starz Animation to produce its second theatrical feature film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, which was released on January 11, 2008 by Universal Pictures.[10]

In April 2009, Entertainment Rights fell into voluntary administration and sold its UK- and US-based subsidiaries, including Big Idea and its parent company, Classic Media, to Boomerang Media.[11] As of 2011 Big Idea, Inc. has been repackaged officially as Big Idea Entertainment, LLC. In July 2012, Big Idea's parent company, Classic Media, was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed DreamWorks Classics.

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced that it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[12] The sale was completed on August 22, 2016.[13][14]

On July 3, 2018, Vischer confirmed that Big Idea's offices in Franklin, were shut down after production of VeggieTales in the City wrapped. While marketing employees continued to work for Big Idea during this time, DreamWorks sold the Franklin, Tennessee studio in late 2017.[15]

A year after production of VeggieTales in the City wrapped, NBCUniversal relocated the headquarters of Big Idea Entertainment to Tustin, a city in Orange County, California, which is near the headquarters of The Trinity Broadcast Network.[16] In 2018, NBCUniversal licensed the properties of Big Idea Entertainment to The Trinity Broadcasting Network. Big Idea Entertaiment launched the production of a new series entitled The VeggieTales Show in 2019 through the collaboration between NBCUniversal, The Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Trilogy Animation Studios. Vischer confirmed on Twitter that he and Nawrocki were both returning to Big Idea as full-time staff to work as head writers for the new series.[17]

VeggieTales historyEdit

VeggieTales is a series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables and conveying moral themes based on Christianity, spliced with joking references to pop culture and current events. VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provide many of the voices. VeggieTales has also been released as books, games, and many other branded items such as toys and clothing. Additionally, the series has been adapted for television broadcast on Qubo (where it aired from September 9, 2006, to September 5, 2009)[18] and on Netflix where DreamWorks Animation Television produced two series, VeggieTales in the House[19] (which ran from November 26, 2014 to September 23, 2016) and VeggieTales in the City (which ran from February 24 to September 15, 2017).

FilmographyEdit

Feature filmsEdit

Released filmsEdit

# Title Release date Co-production with Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie October 4, 2002 FHE Pictures $14 million $25.6 million 65% 58
2 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie January 11, 2008 Starz Animation $15 million $13.2 million 39% 49

Direct-to-video programsEdit

# Title Premiere date End date
1 VeggieTales December 21, 1993 March 3, 2015
2 3-2-1 Penguins! November 14, 2000 July 1, 2003
3 Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures March 16, 2002 June 10, 2003

Television specialsEdit

# Title Release date Network
1 VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular! December 19, 1998 PAX
2 VeggieTales: The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown September 18, 2001 PAX

Television seriesEdit

# Title Premiere date End date Network
1 VeggieTales on TV September 9, 2006 April 10, 2009 Qubo
2 3-2-1 Penguins! October 6, 2007 November 13, 2008
3 VeggieTales in the House November 26, 2014 September 23, 2016 Netflix
4 VeggieTales in the City February 24, 2017 September 15, 2017
5 The VeggieTales Show October 22, 2019 present TBN

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Lombard HQ Project with Pictures - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. November 15, 2004. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "A bunch of pictures from Big Idea's move to Franklin, Tennessee. - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. July 19, 2004. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "It's Official: DreamWorks Animation Buys Classic Media for $155 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ The Babylon Bee (May 1, 2020). "Cucumber For Christ: The Mike Nawrocki Interview". YouTube.
  5. ^ a b Vischer, Phil (2008). Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 978-1-5955-5122-1. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  6. ^ "Big Idea Productions, Inc. -- Company History". Funding Universe. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  7. ^ "What Happened to Big Idea? (Part 10) - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. January 24, 2005.
  8. ^ Hertz, Todd. "Big Idea Loses Suit". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  9. ^ Warren, Hillary (2005). There's Never Been a Show Like Veggie Tales: Sacred Messages in a Secular Market. Lanham, MD: AltMira Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-759105690. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  10. ^ Hetherington, Janet (January 11, 2008). "Seriously Silly: 'The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Boomerang buys Big Idea". ChristianCinema.com. April 6, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  12. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  13. ^ "Comcast Completes Its $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Deadline. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal completes purchase of DreamWorks Animation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  15. ^ YouTube (May 1, 2020). "Cucumber For Christ: The Mike Nawrocki Interview". YouTube. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  16. ^ The Babylon Bee (May 1, 2020). "Cucumber For Christ: The Mike Nawrocki Interview". YouTube. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Correction - TBN is licensing VT from Universal... they didn't buy it. Bob and Larry still live with Shrek and Donkey and Minions. BUT... TBN is producing new eps and Mike and I are writing!"". Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  18. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (September 23, 2006). "NBC Issues New Explanation for VeggieTales Cuts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  19. ^ Brian, Matt (March 13, 2014). "Netflix's three new originals include 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar' spin-offs". Engadget.com. Retrieved April 5, 2015.

External linksEdit