"Spawn" Lives - IDT Entertainment and Todd McFarlane
Productions Bring Back Ground Breaking Animated Series
"Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Animated Series", Lead
Project of Multi-faceted Production and Development Agreement
Newark NJ and Tempe, AZ, May 11, 2004 -- 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 (NYSE:IDT, IDT.C.), 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
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.
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."
The McFarlane Group of companies produces award-winning animated television,
feature films, and music videos. Past projects include Pearl Jam's animated
music video Do the Evolution, Korn's mini-movie-style video for Freak on
a Leash, Jodie Foster's critically acclaimed The Dangerous Lives of
Altar Boys. Animation and live-action projects under the production of
McFarlane and Fitzgerald have won a Grammy, two Emmys, two MTV Music Awards,
and a Much Music Video Music Award. A leader in publishing and entertainment,
The McFarlane Group owns the rights and trademarks to more than 250
intellectual properties and characters. The company is the fifth largest U.S.
action figure manufacturer, featuring Spawn, Elvis, The Matrix,
Ozzy Osbourne, NASCAR drivers, Beatles, KISS, Alien vs. Predator
, plus officially licensed football, baseball, basketball and hockey action
figures. More information at Spawn.com.
IDT Entertainment, a division of IDT Corporation, is a vertically integrated
entertainment concern that develops, produces and distributes proprietary and
licensed entertainment content, with a particular focus on high-quality
animation. IDT Entertainment is in the early stages of production on two
proprietary CG animated feature films, Gene Roddenberry's Starpoint Academy
and a feature yet to be named, directed by Christopher Reeve. IDT Entertainment
consists primarily of the following wholly owned or controlled subsidiaries:
IDT Entertainment has completed several investments and joint ventures to
secure access to brand name characters and content, as well as distribution
channels for family-friendly content. In July 2003, IDT purchased a minority
equity interest in Vanguard Animation and entered into a joint venture with
Vanguard to co-produce and co-own future Vanguard properties distributed in
theaters, direct-to-video and on television. Vanguard Animation is a CG
animated feature film company founded by John Williams, the originating
producer of Shrek. Vanguard's initial production, Valiant, is the
first in a series of four Vanguard-produced films to be distributed by Disney.
IDT Entertainment also has an equity interest in Archie Comics Entertainment as
well as rights to co-develop and co-produce animated properties based upon
selected Archie comics characters as well as Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina,
the Teenage Witch
. IDT has also entered into a joint venture with the Christian Broadcasting
Network to develop and distribute family-friendly programming. IDT
Entertainment also owns a minority interest Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment. In
connection with IDT Entertainment's investment in POW!, the companies agreed to
co-develop and co-produce a minimum of six animation projects for Direct-to-DVD
distribution and broadcast.
Digital Production Solutions, or DPS, is a Computer Generated (CG) animation
production company. DPS's proprietary Global Animation Studio platform enables
numerous animators at diverse locations to work cooperatively and
simultaneously on the same animation project utilizing IDT's telecommunications
Anchor Bay Entertainment is one of the largest independent distributors of DVDs
and videos to retail outlets, and has a significant presence in the children's,
horror and fitness genres. Anchor Bay's library consists of over 3,500 owned or
licensed titles, including the Thomas the Tank Engine series, the Halloween
series and the Crunch
DPS Film Roman is a leading third-party provider of television animation
services and special effects. Film Roman has been the animation studio for The
Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Tripping the Rift,
now airing on the Sci-Fi network.
Mainframe Entertainment is a leading provider of CG animation for television
and direct-to-video products such as the Barbie DVD collection for
Mattel, Popeye and Scary Godmother.
DKP Effects is a 3-D animation, and special effects production company, well
known for its innovative work for movies and television.