IDT Entertainment and Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) today jointly announced a multi-faceted development, production, and distribution agreement to produce animated programming and merchandise based on Spawn and other TMP original intellectual properties. Todd McFarlane Productions is best known for its multiple Emmy-winning Spawn franchise. IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment/animation company. The company includes animation and film production through DPS/Film Roman, Mainframe Entertainment, and DKP Effects, and video distribution through Anchor Bay Entertainment. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company.
According to the terms of the agreement, the initial project is the return of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn: The Animated Series. Spawn is the story of a highly decorated U.S. soldier, brutally executed by his own men. Reborn as a creature from hell, he fights a constant battle between the forces of good and evil. The first Spawn series aired on HBO from 1997 through 1999 and won two Emmy awards. Spawn, one of the world’s best-selling comic books with hundreds of millions sold worldwide, has also been the subject of a live action feature film released in 1997. Distributed by New Line Cinema, the movie version of Spawn has grossed over $100 million internationally.
“This agreement is better than Marvelous,” said Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO. “Worldwide, the demand for a new Spawn series continues to grow. The first series broke new creative ground for an animated series and was its generation’s most popular comic franchise. With IDT Entertainment as the animation partner the new series will be even better.”
Grammy- and Emmy-winning Producer/Director Todd McFarlane will oversee all aspects of development and production, as executive producer. Terence Fitzgerald, senior vice president of creative development of Todd McFarlane Productions, will serve as co-executive producer, and Sidney Clifton, senior vice president and head of programming and development for DPS Film Roman, will lead the creative development team on the IDT Entertainment side. DPS Film Roman is the IDT Entertainment company known for its award-winning production work on “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” and other popular broadcast television programs.
“Ever since the Spawn animated series left HBO in 1999, I have been asked — almost daily — when the show is going to return,” said Todd McFarlane, Spawn creator and CEO of the McFarlane Companies. “I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to not only bring the show back, but also do it with the intent of making it better creatively than its first incarnation. Teaming up with IDT Entertainment’s DPS/Film Roman will allow us to take it to the next level of animation technology.”
According to the agreement, in addition to Spawn, Todd McFarlane will create two additional animated properties. All three projects include animated broadcast television series, DVDs, feature films, video games, apparel and action figures, as well as other consumer products. McFarlane Toys, one of the world’s premier toy manufacturers, is currently on its 25th figure line for Spawn action figures and merchandise.
“The long awaited new Spawn series provides the perfect opportunity to match Todd McFarlane’s legendary creative genius with IDT Entertainment’s innovative animation expertise,” said Morris Berger, CEO of IDT Entertainment. “Spawn will mark the start of a long term relationship. Together, IDT Entertainment and Todd McFarlane can revolutionize comic animation and develop franchise properties of enduring value.”
Source: IDT Corporation