Zag Animation Studios is a new feature animation outfit that plans to release two family-oriented films per year—one fully-CGI and one live-action/CGI hybrid—beginning in 2017.
Some key industry players headline the company, notably billionaire Haim Saban, who made his fortune from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Fox Family Channel and who currently runs the investment firm Saban Capital Group, and Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire director Chris Columbus. The other two partners are producer Michael Barnathan, a frequent Columbus collaborator who exec produced the first three Harry Potter films, and Jeremy Zag, who runs the French animation company Zagtoon.
Zag’s first project, a fully-animated CG pic called Melody, will be co-directed by Columbus and Zag. The studio does not yet have a distribution partnership in place though it anticipates a major studio release. Among the ten other projects currently in development: the fully-CGI animated Abominable and the live-action/CGI hybrid Ghostforce. A previously-released description of Ghostforce makes it sound like Ghostbusters with kids:
As a boy, Professor Richenbach was haunted by many evil ghosts. He swore to one day find a way to defeat them. Many years later, he is a science teacher at Central High School. He has finally developed a technology that enables humans to fight and capture ghosts! He secretly recruits three students Andy, Sam, and Nathalie. They form a team tasked with hunting down and capturing the ghosts that terrorize the city. Operating from the secret underground laboratory built by the Professor, they are the city’s only line of paranormal defense.
They are GHOSTFORCE!
Jeremy Zag founded his other company, Paris-based ZagToon, in 2009 with Jacqueline Tordjman, a 25-year veteran of Saban. The studio has produced series including Popples and Kobushi, and is currently in production on Ladybug, about a “superhero with an American look but with Japanese powers”:
“After all of these years, it’s fantastic to start a new venture that brings together talented artists from around the world under Jeremy’s excellent leadership and Haim’s brilliant international business experience,” Columbus said in a press release.
Zag Animation Studios will operate out of a 40,000-square foot studio in Glendale, California, housing up to 150 employees. Located at the corner of Flower Street and Allen Avenue, the studio will eventually have a a gym, dojo, and French restaurant open to the public, according to Glendale News-Press.
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