Imagine Entertainment

Imagine Entertainment (formerly Imagine Films Entertainment), also known simply as Imagine, is an American film and television production company founded in November 1985 by producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard.

Imagine Entertainment
TypePrivate
IndustryFilm
Television
PredecessorImagine Films Entertainment
Major H Productions
Brian Grazer Productions
FoundedNovember 1985; 36 years ago (1985-11)
FounderBrian Grazer
Ron Howard
Headquarters150 South El Camino Drive, ,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Brian Grazer (Chairman)
Ron Howard (Chairman)
Michael Rosenberg (Co-Chairman)
Justin Wilkes (Chief Strategy Officer)
Tony Hernandez (Co-President)
Lilly Burns (Co-President)
ProductsFeature films[1]
Television series[2]
Documentaries[3]
Branded content[4]
OwnersBrian Grazer
Ron Howard
DivisionsImagine Features
Imagine Television Studios
Imagine Documentaries
Imagine Branded Entertainment[4]
Imagine Kids+Family
SubsidiariesJax Media
Jigsaw Productions[5]
Marginal Mediaworks[6]
Websiteimagine-entertainment.com

BackgroundEdit

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard met in 1982 on Night Shift, with Howard directing and Grazer co-producing. They followed it up by working on 1984's Splash.[7]

HistoryEdit

Imagine Films EntertainmentEdit

 
Logo from 1985 until 2020.

The company was originally founded in November 1985, following the success of the motion picture Splash. It was originated from a merger of two production companies, Ron Howard's Major H Productions and Brian Grazer's self-titled production company Brian Grazer Productions.[8] 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.[9]

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 would 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. "There was the option of developing "long-form dramas" or series as part of the original material to be developed and aired exclusively on Showtime, adding that it could also acquire the syndication rights to these films and original products.[10][11]

In April 1987, producers Philip and Mary Ann Hobel had inked a pact with Imagine Films Entertainment to develop and produce theatrical fare for the company through Hobel Productions, and expected to serve as the eyes and ears of Imagine of New York, and will be backed by a development fund for the purchase of books, plays, scripts and ideas to be developed as film projects, and plans to do both comedy and drama projects with a concentration on contempo themes and issues through a first-look agreement.[12]

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 received more than $1.7 million from Tri-Star, made a $1.3 million payment to Tri-Star, the companies said and advances from Tri-Star were eliminated. The companies said they "intend[ed] to work together on a project-by-project basis" and that projects already in development were not affected. Imagine said the modified agreement "provide[d] it with the flexibility to pursue certain financing and distribution opportunities which were not anticipated when the companies entered the original agreement."[13]

In November 1987, Imagine Films Entertainment announced its plans to move its financial and administrative activities from New York to Los Angeles, and Neil Braun, who was president and chief-executive officer of the company would not be part of the move, and instead would leave the company and is expected to reveal of his plans shortly and his personal commitments would keep him from making the shift, but he called the consolidation "the right decision for the company" while expressing his disappointment at not being able to stay on.[14]

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[15][7] 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.[16][17]

In September 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)[17]

On May 29, 1989, Imagine and Central Independent Television signed a deal to make TV movies for the worldwide business. Under the deal, the new joint venture would produce between four and six TV movies and mini-series a year. MCA who owned about 20% of Imagine and had worldwide distribution rights to its TV series as well as to its long-form programs on a project-by-project basis would also have first consideration on international distribution rights to the joint venture's programs. Imagine and Central retained rights in the U.S. and UK, respectively. The Imagine-Central joint venture was separate from MCA's own ongoing exploration of a joint venture with a European company for Europe-based long-form co-production. The company was in discussions with two or three potential partners, but a deal was not expected soon. Its projects required U.S. and UK presales to go forward, although the venture intended to 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 allowed for theatrical distribution, although such co-productions were not in the planning.[18]

Imagine and Second City signed a joint venture deal in May 1989. In September 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.[17] 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.[19]

In 1990, Imagine Films Entertainment launched a brand new family film label Imagine Family Films, designed to compete with Disney for a family film audience, in order to produce G-rated and PG-rated feature films, and has plans to produce three family films per year, with an eye on the holiday release schedule. The first film planned to be developed for the branding was a remake of the 1963 family feature film Flipper, and an adaptation of the book series Curious George. Both MCA/Universal and Imagine agreed to an extension that Universal would handle theatrical distribution, network, foreign and home video rights, while Universal Studios Florida handled the theme park rights to the properties that were proposed by Imagine Family Films. The new Imagine Family Films banner was intended to model on the success of Disney, and decided to extend on the natural extension of the wholesome wide appeal fare the company has been using since its founding.[20]

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 Parenthood flopped. Andrew Suskind, Joyce Brotman, Todd Bergesen, Richard Pierson, Judy Ranam and Lisa Bloom left the company.[21]

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.[11] By January 21, 1993, it approved a $9 share offer made by its founders and co-chief executives, and IFE Acquisition Co. could render the offer for the deal.[22]

Imagine EntertainmentEdit

In early 1997, Imagine Entertainment reopened its television division and signed a deal with Walt Disney Television for the development of TV series, which would expire at the end of 2000. Its 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.[23][24] 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.[25]

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.[7] 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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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.[7] The deal was then confirmed on February 8, 2016.[29]

On April 5, 2017, Imagine signed a six-picture deal with Warner Bros. and Australian visual effects/animation studio Animal Logic to develop, finance, and produce six animated/live-action films.[30][31] At the end of July 2017, the company struck a four-year first look co-financing and television production deal with CBS Corporation, which saw the former producing content for the company's CBS and Showtime television networks and CBS All Access SVOD streaming service. The agreement was reached by Grazer and CBS Corporation then-Chairman and then-CEO Les Moonves.[32]

In February 2018, Imagine acquired a controlling stake in Jax Media.[33] In November that same year, the company also acquired a stake in content studio Marginal Mediaworks founded by CEO Sanjay Sharma.[6]

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.[5] More recently, the studio signed a first-look deal with Apple Originals.[34]

In January 2022, Imagine Entertainment promoted Tony Hernandez and Lilly Burns, co-founders of Jax Media, to co-presidents, overseeing the company's film and television content.[35]

FilmographyEdit

Feature-film divisionEdit

The feature-film division has participated in over sixty productions and is associated with Universal Pictures,[36] 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.[28]

Theatrical filmsEdit

1980sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
1987 Like Father Like Son first film
1988 Willow with Lucasfilm
Vibes
Clean and Sober
1989 The 'Burbs Universal Pictures first film under a production pact with Universal Pictures [11]
The Dream Team
Parenthood [7]
1990sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
1990 Cry-Baby Universal Pictures
Opportunity Knocks with Brad Grey Productions and Meledandri-Gordon Company
Kindergarten Cop [11]
Problem Child with Robert Simonds Productions [11]
1991 The Doors with Carolco Pictures
Closet Land Universal Pictures
Backdraft with Trilogy Entertainment Group
Problem Child 2 with Robert Simonds Productions
My Girl
1992 Far and Away Universal Pictures [11]
HouseSitter
Boomerang with Eddie Murphy Productions
1993 CB4 Universal Pictures
Cop and a Half
For Love or Money
1994 My Girl 2
Greedy Universal Pictures
The Paper
The Cowboy Way
1995 Apollo 13
1996 Sgt. Bilko
Fear
The Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy Productions [26]
Ransom with Touchstone Pictures
The Chamber Universal Pictures with Davis Entertainment
1997 Liar Liar
Inventing the Abbotts
1998 Mercury Rising Universal Pictures
Psycho
1999 EDtv
Life
Bowfinger
Beyond the Mat [37]
2000sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2000 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Universal Pictures with Eddie Murphy Productions
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
2001 A Beautiful Mind with DreamWorks Pictures [7]
2002 Undercover Brother
Blue Crush
Stealing Harvard with Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios
8 Mile Universal Pictures with Mikona Productions GmbH & Co. KG [26]
2003 Intolerable Cruelty with Mike Zoss Productions
The Missing with Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios
The Cat in the Hat with DreamWorks Pictures
2004 The Alamo with Touchstone Pictures
Friday Night Lights Universal Pictures [7]
2005 Inside Deep Throat with HBO Documentary Films and World of Wonder
Cinderella Man with Buena Vista International, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films and Parkway Productions
Flightplan with Touchstone Pictures
Fun with Dick and Jane with Columbia Pictures and JC 23 Entertainment
2006 Curious George Universal Pictures with Universal Animation Studios
Inside Man with 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks [7]
The Da Vinci Code with Columbia Pictures and Skylark Productions
2007 American Gangster Universal Pictures with Relativity Media and Scott Free Productions
2008 Changeling with Relativity Media and Malpaso Productions
Frost/Nixon with StudioCanal, Relativity Media and Working Title Films
2009 Angels & Demons with Columbia Pictures and Skylark Productions
2010sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2010 Robin Hood Universal Pictures with Relativity Media and Scott Free Productions
2011 The Dilemma with Spyglass Entertainment and Wild West Picture Show Productions [26]
Take Me Home Tonight with Rogue
Cowboys & Aliens with DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, K/O Paper Products, Fairview Entertainment and Platinum Studios; international distribution by Paramount Pictures [26]
Restless with Columbia Pictures
Tower Heist with Relativity Media and Eddie Murphy Productions [26]
J. Edgar with Malpaso Productions and Wintergreen Productions
2012 Katy Perry: Part of Me with AEG Live, EMI Music, Perry Productions, Pulse Films, Magical Elves Productions, Splinter Films, MTV Films and Insurge Pictures
2013 Rush independently financed; with Exclusive Media, Cross Creek Pictures, Working Title Films and Revolution Films
Made in America with Participant Media, RadicalMedia and Jay-Z [38]
2014 Get on Up with Jagged Films and Wyolah Films
The Good Lie with Alcon Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment and Black Label Media
2015 In the Heart of the Sea with Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, COTT Productions, Enelmar Productions A.I.E., Roth Films, Spring Creek Pictures and Kia Jam [7]
Prophet's Prey with Artemis Rising Foundation and Disarming Films [40]
Love the Coopers with Groundswell Productions [41]
2016 Pelé: Birth of a Legend with Seine Pictures
Inferno with Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, LSG Productions and Mid Atlantic Films
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years with Apple Corps and White Horse Pictures [42]
2017 Lowriders with BH Tilt and Telemundo
The Dark Tower with Columbia Pictures, Weed Road Pictures and MRC
American Made with Cross Creek Pictures, Hercules Film Fund, Quadrant Pictures and Vendian Entertainment
2018 The Spy Who Dumped Me with Bron Studios [43]
2019 Pavarotti with PolyGram Entertainment, Decca Records and White Horse Pictures
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band with Bell Media Studios and White Horse Pictures [44][45]
2020sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2020 Rebuilding Paradise [46]
Breakthrough: Virus Fighters with National Geographic Studios, Lincoln Square Productions, DDCD & Partners, Inc., Asylum Entertainment and General Electric [47]
D. Wade: Life Unexpected [48][49]
2021 The Day Sports Stood Still [50]
Julia with CNN Films and Storyville Films [51]
Paper & Glue
Abromarama and MSNBC Films
with Impact Partners, TIME Studios and Shark Island Productions [52]
Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker Short documentary [53]
FutureEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2022 Dog Universal Pictures with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [48]
2022 Thirteen Lives with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Bron [54]
TBA Zero with Warner Animation Group and Animal Logic [55]
new Friday Night Lights film Universal Pictures [56]
Fear [57]

Direct-to-video/Streaming filmsEdit

2000sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2009 Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! with Universal Animation Studios
2010sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2015 Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Universal Animation Studios
2016 Kindergarten Cop 2 with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Where's Arnold Productions [7]
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
Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10 with DHX Media and Tremolo Productions [58]
Undercover Brother 2 with Universal 1440 Entertainment and Hal Lieberman Company
2020sEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2020 Dads with Dove Men + Care and Nine Muses Entertainment [59]
Hillbilly Elegy
John Bronco [60]
2021 Who Are You, Charlie Brown? with WildBrain Studios, Peanuts Worldwide and Schulz Studio [61]
Tick, Tick... Boom! with 5000 Broadway Productions [62]
2022 Downfall: The Case Against Boeing
Lucy and Desi with Amazon Studios, White Horse Pictures, Paper Kite Productions and Diamond Docs [63]
We Feed People with National Geographic Documentary Films [64]
Leave No Trace with ABC News Studios and Vermilion Films [65]
FutureEdit
Year Title Distributor Notes References
2022 Wedding Season with Jax Media and Samosa Stories
TBA The Shrinking of the Treehorn with Animal Logic [66]
The Beanie Bubble [67]

Television divisionEdit

Imagine Television Studios
FormerlyImagine Television (1985-2019)
TypeDivision
IndustryTelevision production
FoundedNovember 1985; 36 years ago (1985-11)
FoundersBrian Grazer
Ron Howard
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Brian Grazer (Chairman)
Ron Howard (Chairman)
ProductsTelevision series
OwnersBrian Grazer
Ron Howard
ParentImagine Entertainment
Websiteimagine-entertainment.com/television/

Its television division, Imagine Television Studios (formerly Imagine Television), was founded in November 1985 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, around the same time when the company was founded. It has participated in at least twenty productions and is associated with 20th Century Fox Television.

Television productionsEdit

Year(s) Title Network/Channel Notes References
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 NBC
1990–1991 Parenthood
My Talk Show
Syndication
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
1998–2002 Felicity
1999–2001 The PJs with The Murphy Company, Will Vinton Studios, and Touchstone Television
2000 Wonderland with Touchstone Television
Rat Bastard Pilot; with Epoch Ink
2001 The Beast with Touchstone Television
2001–10 24 with Real Time Productions, Teakwood Lane Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television [7]
2003 Miss Match with Darren Star Productions and 20th Century Fox Television
2003–06
2013–19
Arrested Development with The Hurwitz Company and 20th Century Fox Television [27]
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
2006–2015
2021–present
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 [27]
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 NBC 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 [68]
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 [7]
2015 The Bastard Executioner with Sutter Ink, FX Productions, and Fox 21 Television Studios
2015–present Breakthrough [47]
2016−18 Mars with RadicalMedia [69]
2017 24: Legacy with Coto/Katz Productions, Teakwood Lane Productions and 20th Century Fox Television [70]
Shots Fired with Undisputed Cinema and 20th Century Fox Television
2017–present Genius with Paperboy Productions, OddLot Entertainment, EUE/Sokolow and 20th Television [71]
2019–present Why Women Kill with CBS Television Studios
2020 68 Whiskey with CBS Television Studios, yes Studio and Little City
Filthy Rich with Wyolah Films and Fox Entertainment
2020–21 The Astronauts with UnMovies and Nickelodeon Productions [72][73]
2020 On Pointe
2021–present We Are: The Brooklyn Saints with Disarming Films [74]
Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine with Rolling Stone and Lightbox [75][76]
2021 Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel with RadicalMedia and Third Eye Motion Picture Company [75]
2021–present Swagger with CBS Studios and Thirty Five Ventures
The Lost Symbol with CBS Studios and Universal Television
2022 Under the Banner of Heaven with Hungry Jackal Productions, Aggregate Films and FXP
Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet with Luminant Media

FutureEdit

Year(s) Title Network/Channel Notes References
2022 Light & Magic with Lucasfilm [77]
Willow with Lucasfilm and MGM Television [78]
TBA The Tiny Chef Show with Nickelodeon Productions and Tiny Chef Productions [79]
Untitled Music Comedy with Amazon Studios [80]

ReferencesEdit

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