It has been announced that Legendary has chosen to partner with Universal Pictures and NBC. As a result, all Legendary properties such as The Hangover trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Man of Steel will now be owned by Universal. This also means future projects such as Justice League and Man of Steel 2 will now be under Universal and not Warner Bros.
Thomas Tull, Legendary's CEO, announced the merger during a red carpet interview for Legendary's newest film, Pacific Rim. He stated that he wanted to go beyond what Warner Bros. could offer and moved to Universal for the "theme park and a television and cable network." In other words, he obviously sees the potential for profits on theme park rides based on the films (no doubt the DC Comics movies) and potential television shows that would air on NBC, USA, or SyFy. This also means Universal's projects can be co-financed by Legendary if they choose to do so.
Here is the official press release:
UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND LEGENDARY ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE MULTI-YEAR FILM PARTNERSHIPLegendary to Leverage Comcast and NBCUniversal’s Businesses Including Universal Studios Theme ParksUNIVERSAL CITY, CA, July 10, 2013 — Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment will enter into a multi-year film partnership in which the two companies will produce and co-finance Legendary and Universal films with Universal distributing Legendary films worldwide. Making Universal its new home enables Legendary to not only leverage the power and success of Universal’s film business and theme parks, but also the cross promotional support from NBCUniversal and Comcast assets through the company’s “Symphony” program. The announcement was made today by Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Legendary Entertainment Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull.
“Comcast and NBCUniversal’s global assets in film, television and theme parks offer Legendary unmatched breadth and opportunity to grow our business. We are delighted to be in business with this exceptional team and look forward to a successful partnership,” said Tull.
Universal and Legendary’s film partnership is a complementary arrangement for both companies. Legendary, which is known for producing and financing successful large scale films, will continue to create and finance tent pole films based on intellectual property that is uniquely appealing to the coveted fanboy audience. And Universal, which has a proven track record of turning films of all shapes and sizes into hits with special skills in growing and nourishing original franchises, will market, co-finance and distribute Legendary films for five years beginning in 2014.
“Legendary has demonstrated a keen ability to identify and acquire powerful fresh intellectual property based ideas, match them with strong filmmakers and turn them into blockbuster hits,” said Fogelson and Langley. “The Universal team is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Legendary in turning those ideas into the best and most successful versions of themselves around the world.”
Under the terms of the deal Universal and Legendary will jointly identify opportunities to expand Legendary’s franchises and intellectual property into Universal’s theme parks, and Universal will have an opportunity to collaborate with Legendary on projects in China following Legendary’s historic deal with China Film Group.
“Legendary continues to prove that big ideas are relevant and profitable with our global movie-going audience. We couldn’t be more thrilled to embrace the challenges and changing marketplace with Thomas and his team and we are also excited about what opportunities this will bring to our Theme Parks around the world,” said Ron Meyer, President and COO, Universal Studios.
“We are very excited to be in business with Thomas and Legendary,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. “The partnership is a perfect fit for both companies and I am confident that together we will be in an even better position to deliver compelling, profitable entertainment content to a global audience for years to come.”
This is a pretty big deal. Universal probably just landed one of the biggest deals possible right now.