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Imagine Entertainment (formerly Imagine Films Entertainment and also known simply as Imagine) is an American film and television production company founded in November 1985 by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer.
Current logo as of 2020.
|Predecessor||Imagine Films Entertainment|
|Headquarters||150 South El Camino Drive,|
|Brian Grazer (Chairman)|
Ron Howard (Chairman)
Michael Rosenberg (Co-Chairman)
|Products||Feature films, TV series|
Imagine Television Studios
Imagine Films Entertainment
The company was originally founded in November 1985, following the success of the motion picture Splash. The company went public the following year. At first, the company set a deal with Tri-Star Pictures to produce feature films and television shows. Imagine granted Tri-Star the right of first refusal to syndicate their off-network shows produced by Imagine. Its offering was sold to Allen & Co. for 1,667,000 units for common stock and warrant it to purchase additional one-third of its stock. The net proceeds were used for development and production of theatrical films, television series, mini-series and made for television movies, although "the company does not presently intend to develop game shows or daytime soap operas." Imagine however has its prospectus having negotiations with Paramount Television for a commitment with ABC for a half-hour pilot and five episodes based on the comedy film Gung Ho.
Later the same year, Imagine had a five-year deal with Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc. and it was able to develop projects for the channels Showtime and The Movie Channel. The agreement will kick-off with 1989 pay television availabilities and include pay-per view exhibition rights to all Imagine-produced films and about 30 motion pictures and "an unspecified number of original products" are also covered by the agreement. "Long-form dramas" or series may be developed as part of the original material to be developed and aired exclusively on Showtime, adding that it may also acquire the syndication rights to these films and original products.
On July 29, 1987, Tri-Star Pictures and Imagine Films Entertainment announced the termination of obligations by Imagine to offer Tri-Star distribution rights for all of its television programming and feature films. Imagine, which has received more than $1.7 million from Tri-Star, will make a $1.3 million payment to Tri-Star, the companies said and advances from Tri-Star will be eliminated. The companies said they "intend to work together on a project-by-project basis" and that projects already in development won't be affected. Imagine said the modified agreement "provides it with the flexibility to pursue certain financing and distribution opportunities which were not anticipated when the companies entered the original agreement."
On December 1, 1987, the company sealed a production and distribution deal with Universal Pictures via a "long-term multiple picture agreement" that they distributed Imagine's films for three to five films a year and the agreement "contemplates the possibility" that Universal acquired a 20% share in Imagine and it will conclude through November 1992 for financing 50% of 30 films. Imagine had an IPO in 1986 at $8 for a package of one share and one warrant. Shares rose to $19.25 before falling in the stock market crash in 1987 to $2.25. In the summer of next year, Imagine struck a deal with MCA TV to handle distribution of its television material. MCA and Imagine will have a joint television venture which MCA has the exclusive network and home video distribution rights. Imagine retains domestic distribution rights for now and is banking on those rights becoming more valuable in the future as its theatrical and television programs gain exposure. Imagine's television division will focus on half-hour comedies, whereas MCA will focus one-hour programs for the networks.
In the September of 1988, Robert Harris who was employee of MCA, and president of Universal Television Group joined the company as president of motion pictures and television. Harris said the studio is also taking original feature cable projects with Showtime, HBO, TNT, USA and MTV Network (which includes Nickelodeon and VH-1, in addition to projects with on-air networks)
On May 29, 1989, Imagine and Central Independent Television signed a deal to make TV movies for the worldwide business. The new joint venture will produce between four to six TV movies and mini-series a year. MCA who owns about 20% of Imagine and has worldwide distribution rights to its TV series as well as to its long-form programs on a project-by-project basis will also have first consideration on international distribution rights to the joint venture's programs. Imagine and Central retain rights in the U.S. and UK, respectively. [The Imagine-Central joint venture is separate from MCA's own ongoing exploration of a joint venture with a European company for Europe-based long-form co-production. The company is in discussions with two or three potential partners, but a deal is not expected soon.] Its projects must have U.S. and UK presales to go forward, although the venture will seek U.S. buyers going beyond the three big commercial networks to include Fox, as well as cable networks TNT, USA Network, Showtime and HBO. The deal also allows for theatrical distribution, although such co-productions are not in the planning now.
Imagine and Second City signed a joint venture deal in May 1989. In the September of 1989, Imagine is entering syndication production business and signed a long-term co-production deal with Second City Entertainment, for a late night talk/comedy strip that was distributed by MCA TV. It will use the ready talent pool of Second City comedians. The result is My Talk Show, which aired in the 1990-91 season. As HA!: The Comedy Network is ready to air in 1990, they stuck deals with Imagine Films Entertainment, for series featuring the Second City Repertory Company, as well as MTM Enterprises.
In 1991, Imagine Films Entertainment shut down its original Imagine Television division, and terminating its exclusive production partnership with MCA, Inc., and it will lay off 30 of its 80 employees of its company. It came when the series My Talk Show, and Paernthood flopped. Andrew Suskind, Joyce Brotman, Todd Bergesen, Richard Pierson, Judy Ranam and Lisa Bloom left the company.
By May 1992, 48% of the stock was public traded and worth $9.375. The duo agreed to a new six picture deal with Universal while concurrently offering $9 a share to buy the company's public outstanding share to start a new company with its assets. If not, they planned to leave the company at their contract expiration in November to start the new company anyway. Universal was providing the cash for a buyout of an equity stake in the new company.
In early 1997, Imagine Entertainment reopened its television division, signed a deal with Walt Disney Television for the development of TV series, which would expire at the end of 2000. It's movie contract remained with Universal. It boosted up their access to Disney's TV production slate. Imagine was exclusive for development and production of TV projects, including half-hour comedy series, one-hour dramas, motion pictures for TV and miniseries. They hired Tony Krantz to be co-chairman of its television division, and it will share a stake in the television division with its founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, while overseeing the TV division's day-to-day operations.
In 2000, the partnership teamed up with 20th Century Fox for development of TV series, an agreement set to expire at the end of 2016. In 2011, the company had three weak box office performers with The Dilemma, Cowboys & Aliens and Tower Heist. Because of their weak financial pact renewal with Universal in January 2012, Imagine laid off 5 employees, including production executive Jeremy Steckler. This also moves Imagine from exclusive to a first-look deal. By 2013, Imagine was considering other funding methods for the company's films including crowdfunding for a Friday Night Lights movie.
In November 2013, Michael Rosenberg was promoted to co-chairman followed in December 2013, with Erica Huggins being promoted to his previous position as president. Industry insiders indicated in late January 2016 that a deal with Raine Group was in the works that would have Raine become a partner of the production company while contributing $100 million.
In December 2019, Imagine Entertainment CEO Rich Battista left the company after only less than 4 months since being appointed in late August.
In June 2020, Imagine Entertainment made a substantial investment in Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney's Jigsaw Productions. Gibney formed the New York-based Jigsaw in 2012, and directed and produced Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, and Citizen K.
The feature-film division has participated in over sixty productions and is associated with Universal Pictures, which has distributed many of Imagine's productions, some with other studios. Erica Huggins was hired as senior vice president of motion picture production and was elevated to executive vice president in 2006, and later to co-president of production in 2010.
|1987||Like Father Like Son||only film produced under a production pact with Tri-Star Pictures; first film|
|1988||Willow||with Lucasfilm Ltd.|
|Clean and Sober|
|1989||The 'Burbs||first film under a production pact with Universal Pictures|||
|The Dream Team|
|July 31, 2020||Rebuilding Paradise||National Geographic Documentary Films|||
|The Shrinking of Treehorn|||
|new Friday Night Lights film|||
Direct-to video films
|2009||Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!||with Universal Animation Studios|
|2015||Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle||with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Universal Animation Studios|
|2016||Kindergarten Cop 2||with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Where's Arnold Productions|||
|2017||Cop and a Half: New Recruit||with Universal 1440 Entertainment, Everywhere Studios and 50 Degrees North Productions|
|2019||Backdraft 2||with Universal 1440 Entertainment, Rafaella Productions, Nexus Factory, uMedia and Title Media|
|Undercover Brother 2||with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Hal Lieberman Company|
|TBA||Tick, Tick... Boom!||with 5000 Broadway Productions|||
Its television division, Imagine Television Studios has participated in at least twenty productions and is associated with 20th Century Fox Television.
|1986–1987||Gung Ho||with Paramount Television and Four Way Productions|
|1987–1988||Ohara||with Warner Bros. Television and M'ass Production|
|1987||Take Five||with TriStar Television and Empire City Presentations|
|1989||Knight & Daye|
|My Talk Show||with Second City Entertainment and MCA TV|
|1997–1998||Hiller and Diller||with Touchstone Television|
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon|
|1998–2000||Sports Night||with Touchstone Television|
|1999–2001||The PJs||with The Murphy Company, Will Vinton Studios, and Touchstone Television|
|2000||Wonderland||with Touchstone Television|
|2001||The Beast||with Touchstone Television|
|2001–10||24||with Real Time Productions, Teakwood Lane Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2003||Miss Match||with Darren Star Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|Arrested Development||with The Hurwitz Company and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2004||The Big House||with 20th Century Fox Television|
|2004–05||Quintuplets||with Mark Reisman Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2005||The Inside||with Reamworks and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2006||Saved||with Sarabande Productions and Fox 21|
|Curious George||with WGBH-TV and Universal Animation Studios|
|2006||Treasure Hunters||with Magical Elves, Inc. and Madison Road Entertainment|
|2006–08||Shark||with Deforestation Services and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2006–11||Friday Night Lights||with Film 44 and Universal Media Studios|
|2008||24: Redemption||with Teakwood Lane Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2009–11||Lie to Me||with Pagoda Pictures, Samuel Baum Productions, MiddKid Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2010–15||Parenthood||with True Jack Productions, Universal Media Studios, and Universal Television|
|2011||Friends with Benefits||with Big Kid Pictures, Pickle Films, and 20th Century Fox Television|
|The Playboy Club||with Alta Loma Entertainment, Storyland Entertainment, and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2012||The 84th Academy Awards||with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences|
|The Great Escape||with Profiles Television Productions, The Hochberg Ebersol Company, and Fox Television Studios|
|2013||How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)||with Hot Lava Girl Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2014||Those Who Kill||with One Two One Three Pictures, Miso Film, and Fox 21|
|24: Live Another Day||with Teakwood Lane Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|Gang Related||with Chris Morgan Productions, Skeeter Rosenbaum Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2015–2020||Empire||with Lee Daniels Entertainment, Danny Strong Productions, Little Chicken Inc., and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2015||The Bastard Executioner||with Sutter Ink, FX Productions, and Fox 21 Television Studios|
|2017||24: Legacy||with Coto/Katz Productions, Teakwood Lane Productions and 20th Century Fox Television|
|Shots Fired||with Undisputed Cinema and 20th Century Fox Television|
|2017–present||Genius||with Paperboy Productions, OddLot Entertainment, EUE/Sokolow and Fox 21 Television Studios|
|2019||Why Women Kill||with CBS Television Studios|
|2019-present||The Conners||with Jax Media, Mohawk Productions and Sara + Tom|
|2020||68 Whiskey||with CBS Television Studios, yes Studio and Little City|
|Filthy Rich||with Wyolah Films and Fox Entertainment|
|The Astronauts||with UnMovies and Nickelodeon Productions|
|TBA||The Tiny Chef Show||with Nickelodeon Productions and Tiny Chef Productions|
|Untitled Music Comedy||with Amazon Studios|
|Untitled Willow sequel series||with Lucasfilm and MGM Television|
- Rainey, James (January 28, 2016). "Raine Group to Invest $100 Million-Plus in Imagine, Partners Eye Expansion". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- "Looking for big 'Splash.'" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1986-06-30. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- "Exclusivity deals" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1986-09-29. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (May 19, 1992). "COMPANY NEWS; Chiefs of Imagine Films Seek to Take It Private". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- "Tri-Star Pictures and Imagine Films Entertainment announced..." Los Angeles Times. 1987-07-29. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- "Universal Pictures and Imagine Films Entertainment announced..." Los Angeles Times. 1987-12-01. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- "Harris leaving MCA for Imagine" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1988-08-29. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Howard/Imagine/Second City/MCA TV" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1989-09-11. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- "Imagine, CIT meet to make movies" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1989-05-29. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- "In the works" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1989-11-06. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Imagine Films Entertainment is folding its Imagine Television division" (PDF). Broadcasting Magazine. 1991-03-25. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Imagine signs Disney deal" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. 1997-02-17. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Disney TV deal: Imagine that". Variety. 1997-02-11. Retrieved 2020-05-02.
- Rice, Lynette (1997-04-21). "Imagine there's a new TV division" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- "Imagine Entertainment Lays Off Staff". Hollywood Reporter. January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 16, 2013). "Cannes: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard Introduce Imagine 2.0; A Pele Pic On The Croisette, A Crowd-Funded 'Friday Night Lights', 'Dark Tower', Jay-Z And One Angry White Whale". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- McNary, Dave (December 9, 2013). "Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Promote Erica Huggins to President of Imagine". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
- Amid Amidi (April 5, 2017). "Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment Teams Up With Animal Logic for 6 Animated Features". Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Fleming, Mike, Jr. (May 22, 2018). "Imagine & Animal Logic Form Film Partnership With Warner Bros To Generate Animated & Hybrid Family Films".
- Andreeva, Nellie (20 February 2018). "Imagine Entertainment Takes Controlling Interest In Comedy Series Producer Jax Media". Deadline. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- "Imagine Entertainment CEO Rich Battista has left the company after just months on the job". Los Angeles Times. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
- "Imagine Entertainment Company Profile – Yahoo! Finance". Biz.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
- "Imagine Entertainment Solo – A Star Wars Story". Imagine Entertainment.
- Rebecca Ford; Borys Kit. "Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis in Talks to Star in Action-Comedy 'The Spy Who Dumped Me'". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Kiladay, Gregg (January 24, 2019). "Nat Geo Documentary Films Nabs Ron Howard Look at California Wildfires (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Wiseman, Andreas (April 17, 2020). "Sony Classics Acquires World Rights To Julia Child Doc By 'RBG' Directors, Imagine & CNN Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Ron Howard to direct Imagine Entertainment-Animal Logic co-production". June 23, 2019.
- Kroll, Justin (November 21, 2019). "The Dowdle Brothers Tackle New 'Friday Night Lights' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)".
- Hipes, Patrick (September 6, 2019). "Bryce Dallas Howard's Documentary 'Dads' Finds Home At Apple – Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Fleming, Mike, Jr. (July 19, 2018). "Imagine Sets Lin-Manuel Miranda's Helming Debut: 'Rent' Creator Jonathan Larson's 'Tick, Tick…Boom!'; 'Evan Hansen's Steven Levenson Scripting".
- "Imagine Entertainment 84th Academy Awards". Imagine Entertainment.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2016-02-23). "'24: Legacy': Teddy Sears Cast As Head Of CTU In Fox Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
- "NICKELODEON AND IMAGINE KIDS+FAMILY DEVELOPING ORIGINAL LIVE-ACTION SPACE SERIES". Nickelodeon Press. June 18, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- "NICKELODEON PREPARES FOR LIFT-OFF WITH THE ASTRONAUTS, FIRST PRODUCTION WITH IMAGINE KIDS+FAMILY". Nickelodeon Press. February 19, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
- "SOCIAL MEDIA SENSATION THE TINY CHEF HEADS TO NICKELODEON IN BRAND-NEW SERIES FROM IMAGINE KIDS+FAMILY". Nickelodeon Press. August 12, 2020. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2017-05-03). "Danny DeVito & Jeff Goldblum To Star In Amazon Comedy Series From Imagine TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
- Butler, Mary Anne (May 1, 2019). "Ron Howard Confirms 'Willow' TV Series Talks for Disney+, with Warwick Davis". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved May 1, 2019.