Lionsgate, a $1.47-billion California-headquartered film production group, has signed a three-feature film deal with Crest Animation Studios (India) for stereoscopic 3D animation films.
Lionsgate, which has Disney’s Pixar, Dreamworks, Bluesky-Fox and Universal Studios as competition, will release its first film, Alpha and Omega, a love story about two mismatched wolves, on October 1.
Ken Katsumoto, executive vice president of Lionsgate Family Entertainment, spoke exclusively with Hindustan Times about why his company is so excited about Crest and the tie up with it.
On Lionsgate’s venture into 3D animation, and the pact with Crest
We found that Crest was the most prepared to go into the production of the animation films in stereoscopic 3D. Its management and vision, dedication to quality and willingness to take an equal stake — Crest brought in (US hedge fund) DE Shaw — in the film impressed us. This is the first time Lionsgate has entered into a partnership at this level.
On Lionsgate’s vision
Lionsgate sees itself as a strong, diversified, entrepreneurial and daring company. We are focused on the present and future, which is about 3D and digital. In that sense, Alpha and Omega is perfectly timed.
We are so pleased with the way the film has turned out we're going ahead with the second film's production with Crest even before its release.
On the cost factor
There is, of course, a cost advantage. Other major international animation film production studios spend a lot more on such films. Crest is capable of delivering studio-level quality and we are not going to spend as much. Lionsgate is about prudence meeting high quality.
On the pending films with Crest
The second film is about Norm, a polar bear who becomes an entertainer in New York, much like a human, till he gets tired of 'human' life and wants to return home. Along the way, he arrives at many realisations.
It's too early to talk about the third film. I'll say this: while Alpha and Omega is based on the Pixar model of classic storytelling that we hope will make people laugh and cry, Norm of the North will be based more on the Dreamworks model, showing a range of depth and capability that we hope will generate wall-to-wall, popcorn-spilling laughter across the world.