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Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc., formerly Thunderbird Entertainment, is a publicly-traded, multi-platform media production, distribution and rights management company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, Ottawa and London (UK). Thunderbird creates scripted, unscripted and animated programming for digital platforms, as well as Canadian and International broadcasters. The company develops, produces and distributes animated, factual and scripted content through its various divisions, including Atomic Cartoons (kids and family), Great Pacific Television (factual) and Thunderbird Productions (scripted).
Golden Secret Ventures Ltd.
|Public (TSX-V: TBRD)|
|Jennifer Twiner McCarron (CEO)|
|Revenue||$131 million (2018)|
Number of employees
Sea to Sky Entertainment
Great Pacific Media
Thunderbird Entertainment Group was founded as Thunderbird Films in 2003 by Tim Gamble and Michael Shepard.
In February 2012, it was announced that Lionsgate Entertainment Founder, Frank Guistra, became a major shareholder in Thunderbird, and that the company would make significant investment into scripted television, now known as Thunderbird Productions. This announcement coincided with Thunderbird's opening of an office in Los Angeles,
Corporate acquisitions and major partnershipsEdit
Sea to Sky EntertainmentEdit
In March 2010, Thunderbird Entertainment announced a new partnership with Lionsgate to for Sea to Sky Entertainment. The announcement came weeks after Frank Giustra became a major shareholder in Thunder Entertainment. Lionsgate and Thunder jointly manage the venture, which is design to share production and distribution costs for all scripted projects picked up to series.
On August 17, 2015, ABC Family announced the cast of Guilt, a one-hour drama about a young American woman in London who becomes a prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate. The series stars Katrina Law and Billy Zane, and is a co-production of Sea to Sky Entertainment (the joint venture between Lionsgate Television and Thunderbird Entertainment) and BV Family Productions in association with ABC Family. Gary Fleder (Kingdom, Scorpion) will direct. On November 5, 2015, Guilt received a series order from ABC Family. The series premiered on June 13, 2016 on Freeform in USA, and on Bravo in Canada on June 21.
Great Pacific MediaEdit
In 2014, it was announced that Thunderbird Entertainment acquired the Vancouver-based company, Great Pacific Media. Great Pacific Media is now referred to as 'Thunderbird Entertainment's Factual Division', though it also retains its own distinct corporate identity.
Great Pacific Media was founded by television veterans Blair Reekie and Mark Miller and its programs are viewed in more than 170 countries.The division specializes in financing and the development, production, co-production, of factual, documentary, game show and reality television.
Mark Miller serves as Chief Executive Officer for Great Pacific Media, and President for Thunderbird Entertainment, a role he was appointed to in 2016. In January 2019, television industry veteran Wendy McKeran was named Vice President of Great Pacific Media.
Great Pacific Media currently produces the Discovery Canada series Highway Thru Hell and Heavy Rescue: 401, both of which also stream globally on Netflix. Other series include Worst to First and Save My Reno, which air on HGTV, and Queen of the Oil Patch, which aired on APTN.
In September 2014, it was announced that Thunderbird Entertainment acquired Thunderbird Releasing. Thunderbird Releasing is a London-based all-rights film distribution company, with a division in Canada, specialising in arthouse, independent and world cinema. Established in 2002 by Eve Gabereau and Edward Fletcher, the company releases 25+ films a year and has a library of over 300 titles. They have released such groundbreaking films as Fatih Akin's Head-On, Tran Anh Hung's Norwegian Wood, Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy, Meek's Cutoff and Night Moves, Christian Petzold's Barbara and Phoenix both starring Nina Hoss, from Saudi Arabia Wadjda, Brazilian award-winner The Second Mother, Icelandic breakout hit Rams, French thriller Disorder starring Matthias Schoenaerts and Diane Kruger and the Oscar nominated documentary Finding Vivian Maier, as well as on the Canadian side Lone Scherfig's The Riot Club, Ben Wheatley's High-Rise and the Western Slow West starring Michael Fassbender. They also have a partnership with Miramax Films under which they are releasing The Ninth Life of Louis Drax starring Jamie Dornan and Southside with You based on the Obama's first date in 1989. Upcoming they have Sundance selection Lovers and the Despot and the critically acclaimed Cannes competitors Paterson and Toni Erdmann.
In February 2016, it was announced that Atomic Cartoons would be creating the animation for Netflix Original Series Beat Bugs, which is a show inspired by over 50 famous Beatles tunes, covered by numerous international artists.
On October 20, 2016 it was announced that Thunderbird Entertainment and Skybound North — a division of Skybound Entertainment — had entered into a first-look agreement for all animated and non-animated properties being developed for TV by Skybound North in Canada.
L.A.-based Skybound Ent., led by Robert Kirkman and David Alpert with managing partner Jon Goldman, had expanded operations with the launch of Skybound North in Canada. Led by former Lucasfilm Animation executive Catherine Winder as CEO and Partner, the Vancouver-based operation is a full-service production entity geared toward developing and producing content with Canadian partners.
Initial public offeringEdit
Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. became a publicly traded company on the TSX Venture Exchange on November 2, 2018. Thunderbird's Board of Directors includes: Ivan Fecan (Executive Chair), Frank Giustra, Tim Gamble, Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Mark Miller, Francesco Aquilini, Frank Holmes, Brian Paes-Braga, Paul Sparkes and Azim Jamal.
Thunderbird Entertainment began production on a 13 episode first season of the new half-hour comedy series Kim's Convenience, which premiered on October 11, 2016 on CBC. The series is based on the award-winning play by Ins Choi, who serves as series creator along with Kevin White (Schitts Creek, Corner Gas). Executive Producers on Kim's Convenience are Ivan Fecan, Tim Gamble, Alexandra Raffé, Leslie Lester, Albert Schultz, Ins Choi and Kevin White. Supervising Producers are Sandra Cunningham and Robin Cass. The series stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Simu Liu, Andrea Bang, Andrew Phung and Nicole Power. The series recently aired its third season on CBC, and a fourth season began production in spring 2019.
Beat Bugs is a Netflix Original Series.
It was announced in February 2016 that Thunderbird would be a co-producer on the series, which began streaming on Netflix August 3, 2016. The series features original characters and a world created by Australian native Josh Wakely, who directs, writes and produces the series, following a deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing for worldwide rights to record covers of the Beatles song catalog.
Beat Bugs incorporates songs from the Lennon/McCartney "Northern Songs" catalog. The show will feature some of the best-known Beatles songs woven into the narrative of each episode, with Eddie Vedder, Pink, James Bay, Sia, The Shins, Of Monsters and Men, Chris Cornell, Regina Spektor, and James Corden each recording their rendition of an iconic song. Among the songs featured are "Help!", "All You Need Is Love", "Come Together", "Penny Lane", "Yellow Submarine", "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Magical Mystery Tour".
Season two started streaming on November 18, and features artists such as Aloe Blacc, Rod Stewart and Jennifer Hudson.
The Last Kids on EarthEdit
On September 26, 2017, it was announced that Thunderbird Entertainment's kids and family division, Atomic Cartoons, had optioned the screen rights on Max Brallier's book series The Last Kids on Earth with the intention of producing an animated television series.
On February 26, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given the production series order. Executive producers include Brallier, Scott Peterson, Jennifer Twiner McCarron, and Matthew Berkowitz. Brallier and Peterson are also expected to write the series as well. Production companies involved in the series include Thunderbird Entertainment's animation studio Atomic Cartoons.
On March 13, 2019, the series cast was announced, including Mark Hamill, Rosario Dawson, Catherine O'Hara, Keith David, Bruce Campbell, Garland Whitt, Montse Hernandez, Charles Demers, and Nick Wolfhard as the lead character Jack Sullivan.
The series is scheduled to premiere on Netflix in 2019.
High Arctic HaulersEdit
Thunderbird's factual division, Great Pacific Media, is currently producing a series called High Arctic Haulers for CBC. The series examines Canada's resilient, vibrant Northern communities, and the determined men and women who help provide their lifeline to the outside world. These groups are linked together by the summer sealift, when ships loaded with critical cargo travel each year to the farthest reaches of the North to deliver food, clothing, supplies and vital pieces of infrastructure.
The series is scheduled to premiere on CBC in 2019.
Princesses Wear PantsEdit
In 2018, it was announced that Thunderbird's kids and family division, Atomic Cartoons, had acquired the IP for Savannah Guthrie and Alison Oppenhiem's New York Times bestselling book series, Princesses Wear Pants. They are currently in development on an animated TV series, in collaboration with Drew Barrymore's Flower Films.
Thunderbird Entertainment commenced production on a 10 episode first season of the new drama-thriller Somewhere Between in March, 2017. The series aired on ABC in the summer of 2017, and was written by Legend of the Seeker and Taxi Brooklyn co-creator Stephen Tolkin. Based on a Korean format, Somewhere Between centers on Laura Price (Paula Patton). She isn't crazy: She knows her daughter Serena is going to be murdered. She doesn't know who the murderer is or why she'll be killed, but she knows exactly when it will happen, where and how. Despite this, all of her attempts to keep her daughter safe fail, and Serena's fixed, unmovable, terrifying fate keeps her directly in the path of her killer.
Tolkin executive produced the series with Thunderbird's Executive Chair of the Board Ivan Fecan and Joseph Broido.
Blade Runner 2049Edit
Thunderbird Entertainment owns a 50 percent stake in the Blade Runner franchise and was an active partner in Blade Runner 2049. In August 18, 2011, it was announced that Ridley Scott had signed on to direct and produce the new installment of Blade Runner.
On February 27, 2015 it was announced that Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve would be directing the sequel, and on February 28, 2015 it was confirmed that Harrison Ford will reprise his role as Rick Deckard. On May 21, 2015, award-winning Cinematographer Roger Deakins joined the Blade Runner sequel.
In addition to Ford, the film starred Ryan Gosling. Other cast members include Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Carla Juri and Mackenzie Davis. Tim Gamble and Frank Giustra served as Executive Producers on behalf of Thunderbird Entertainment. The film was released in 2017.
On May 29, 2012 CityTV's original content team announced that it had commissioned Package Deal, a new comedy series produced by Thunderbird Entertainment and created by Andrew Orenstein (Malcolm in the Middle, 3rd Rock from the Sun). Package Deal is a 13-episode, half-hour, multi-camera original comedy about three overly close brothers and the woman who comes between them. On April 1, 2013 it was announced that Package Deal would begin airing on the CityTV network starting Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:30pm PST. The second season premiered on CityTV on September 12, 2014, and on April 20, 2015, it was announced by Thunderbird that the sitcom would be made available to stream in the US on Hulu. Package Deal stars Randal Edwards, Harland Williams, Jay Malone, Julia Voth and Jill Morrison.
Thunderbird Entertainment and Corus Entertainment commenced production on a 26 episode first season of the comedy series Mr. Young in October 2010. The series was created by Dan Signer (The Suite Life on Deck, A.N.T. Farm), and stars Brendan Meyer, Matreya Fedor and Gig Morton. Mr. Young centers on child prodigy Adam Young (Brendan Meyer), who graduated from university at the age of 14. He decides to come back to high school to live the high school experience, only he becomes the science teacher at the school. With one-foot in the lunch room and the other foot in the staff room, it's Mr. Young's social life that's being put to the test. On April 29, 2011 Mr. Young was renewed for a 26 episode second season. The series was renewed for a third season in April, 2012. Thunderbird began production of a 28 episode third season on May 10, 2012. Mr. Young is broadcast on YTV in Canada and Disney XD in the United States.
Some Assembly RequiredEdit
Thunderbird Entertainment and Corus Entertainment commenced production on a 26 episode first season of the comedy series Some Assembly Required, which premiered on YTV on January 6, 2014. The series was created by Dan Signer (The Suite Life on Deck, A.N.T. Farm), and Howard Nemetz (Mr. Young, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) and stars Kolton Stewart, Charlie Storwick and Harrison Houde. Some Assembly Required tells the story of Jarvis Raines (Kolton Stewart), an average teenager who becomes boss overnight after he sues a toy company over a defective chemistry set that blows up his house. Jarvis' first act as CEO of Knickknack Toys is to recruit a group of kids from his high school to help him run the company.
On January 5, 2015, Some Assembly Required returned to YTV for an 18 episode second season. The series was renewed for a third season in August, 2015, and began production of 13 new episodes that same month. Some Assembly Required is broadcast on YTV in Canada, and on February 25, 2015 it was announced that Netflix acquired season one, which began streaming worldwide outside of Canada on June 19, 2015. On October 16, 2015 Netflix began streaming season two of the series. The 3rd season of "Some Assembly Required" aired a 13 episode season on March 14, and had its series finale air on YTV June 6, 2016 in Canada.
Endgame is a Drama Series that was developed and produced by Thunderbird Entertainment. The series premiered on Showcase Television network on Monday, March 14, 2011. In the US, Endgame was broadcast exclusively on Hulu. The series follows former World Chess Champion Arkady Balagan, a genius who uses his analytical skills to solve crimes. Endgame stars Shawn Doyle (Big Love, 24) as Arkady Balagan and features Patrick Gallagher (Glee), Torrance Coombs (Heartland), Katharine Isabelle (Da Vinci's Inquest, Supernatural) and Carmen Aguirre (The L Word).
For the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017, Kim's Convenience garnered 11 nominations, including Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Lee), Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Yoon and Bang), and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Phung). Lee won the award for best actor in a continuing leading comedic role for his portrayal of Appa, and Phung won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Kimchee.
At the 6th Canadian Screen Awards in 2018, the series received 12 nominations. It won the awards for Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Lee) and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Phung).
Thunderbird catalogue showsEdit
- Airshow (2003-2005)
- Beat Bugs (2016)
- Cold Squad
- Da Vinci's City Hall
- Da Vinci's Inquest
- Ella the Elephant
- Game of Homes
- Heavy Rescue: 401
- Highway Thru Hell
- Is It Possible?
- Johnny Test (seasons 1, 4-6)
- Kim's Convenience
- Little Charmers
- Maya the Bee
- Mr. Young
- Nico Can Dance!
- Package Deal
- Pirate Express
- Save My Reno
- Stone Undercover
- Transformers: Rescue Bots (season 1)
- Rocket Monkeys
- Some Assembly Required
- Somewhere Between
- Spider-Man Unlimited
- Style By Jury
- Worst to First
- World of Quest
- Zigby (2008-2011)
- Zixx (2005)
- milo vs ALEX! (2010-2012)
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