Starz Media, LLC, has reached an agreement to sell Film Roman, the studio that has produced animation for The Simpsons, to a group of investors headed by the unit's former president.
Scott Greenberg is leading a group, whose transaction is contingent on certain closing conditions typical of this type of deal, terms of which were not disclosed.
The agreement would see the new owners acquire the ownership interest in Film Roman along with certain intellectual property and development rights. The parties expect to have the final closing conditions met in the fourth quarter.
In July, Starz shuttered independent movie studio Overture Films after failing to find a buyer.
Film Roman has produced animation for Fox Television/Gracie Films' The Simpsons, Fox Television's King of the Hill, Marvel Entertainment's Super Hero Squad, The Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man and MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head, as well as proprietary projects such as the new Dan Vs. for The Hub, the original Dead Space animated features, based upon the Electronic Arts video games, and preschool series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! on Nick Jr. and Noggin."Film Roman is unmatched in the quality and breadth of the traditional animation it creates, and with its recent successful move into CG animation, the studio is poised for even bigger growth," said LLC, Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, in announcing the deal. "We have the utmost respect for the people of Film Roman and the work they produce. We wish Scott and his team nothing but success with this new venture."
Noted Greenberg: "I'm looking forward to returning to the company where I had so much success and working with our talented artists and executives to make Film Roman the preeminent TV animation company, creating brands that work in a multiplatform environment worldwide."
After leaving Film Roman in 2008, Greenberg and animation producers Mark McJimsey and Joel Kuwahara co-founded the animation company Bento Box Entertainment. The new Film Roman investor group also intends to purchase Bento Box and combine the two production companies, under the management of Greenberg, McJimsey and Kuwahara.
Starz parent Liberty Media launched Overture Films about three years ago with high hopes, but after a series of releases fared poorly at the box office, the studio unit was put on the block. When that did not attract the wanted price, Liberty decided to shut down the operation.
Overture's three remaining films -- the Philip Seymour Hoffman-directed Jack Goes Boating; the Robert DeNiro vehicle Stone and vampire flick Let Me In -- are being released through a new distribution deal with independent studio Relativity Media. Overture's library of about 20 films will be distributed in the home entertainment and television markets by Liberty properties Anchor Bay Entertainment and other Starz units.