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Legendary Entertainment
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Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC, doing business as Legendary Entertainment or simply Legendary, is an American film production and mass media company based in Burbank, California, founded by Thomas Tull in 2000. The company has collaborated with the likes of Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster. Since 2016, Legendary has been a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group.


Thomas Tull founded Legendary Entertainment after raising $500 million from private equity firms.[1] It was one of the first companies of its kind to pair major motion picture production with major Wall Street private equity and hedge fund investors, including ABRY Partners, AIG Direct Investments, Bank of America Capital Investors, Columbia Capital, Falcon Investment Advisors, and M/C Venture Partners.[2] Legendary Pictures, Inc. was incorporated in California in 2000[3] and in 2005 it signed an agreement with Warner Bros. to co-produce and co-finance up to 40 films over seven years.[2] In 2010, Tull, Fidelity Investments, and Fortress Investment Group bought all the shares of the original investors. The buyout also included a $25 million-investment by Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment. Following the transaction, Tull became the largest shareholder, thus enabling him to more easily direct the company's operations.[4] Golden Harvest later sold its stake in the company for $30 million.[5] In 2011, Accel Partners bought $40 million-worth of shares and Accel partner Jim Breyer joined the company's board of directors.[6] That same year the company was reported to have been valued at more than $1 billion.[2] In September 2011, Chief Creative Officer Jon Jashni was appointed to the new position of President.[7] In December 2012, Waddell & Reed bought around 20% of Legendary's shares for $443 million.[8]

In July 2013, Legendary reached an agreement with Universal Pictures in which it would market, co-finance, and distribute Legendary's films for five years starting in 2014, the year that Legendary's similar agreement with Warner Bros. expired.[9] In October 2014, SoftBank bought $250 million shares, a 10% stake, in Legendary. The transaction increased the company's total value to around $3 billion.[10]

In 2014, Legendary acquired the television producer Asylum Entertainment, which made ESPN's 30 for 30 and miniseries The Kennedys, for $100 million, but Asylum Entertainment will continue operating as a separate company.[11][12]

On January 11, 2016, Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group announced that it concluded an agreement with shareholders to acquire Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, making it the largest acquisition of an American media company by a Chinese firm.[13]

On January 17, 2017, it was announced that Tull had exited as Legendary Entertainment CEO.[14] He was replaced by the senior vice president of Wanda's cultural industry group, Jack Gao, as interim CEO.[15]

On October 17, 2017, it was reported that Gao stepped down from his positions at Legendary Entertainment and Wanda Group.[16][17] The resignation comes after an announcement by Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin earlier that year that Wanda would refocus its investments onto the Chinese domestic market in an attempt to "actively respond to the call of the country".[16] This, in turn, is thought to be a consequence of the Chinese government banning Chinese banks to provide loans to Wanda Group's foreign operations intended to stop the firm's offshore acquisition plans.[18]

On December 5, 2017, it was announced that Joshua Grode had been named as Legendary Entertainment CEO.[19]

On April 30, 2021, the company hired LionTree Advisors to explore possible deals, including the possibility of merging with a SPAC, making acquisitions, or finding partners.[20] On July 22, 2021, it was announced that Legendary is looking for a merger instead of a SPAC.[21]

Divisions and ventures[]

In addition to producing American films, Legendary Entertainment has announced various other business endeavors.

Legendary Digital Networks[]

See also: Geek & Sundry and Nerdist Industries

In 2009, the company announced the establishment of a digital division, to be headed by Kathy Vrabeck, that would primarily focus on game development, a move which surprised many industry analysts because of the film industry's previous disengagement with the video game industry.[22] The goal of the division was reoriented in 2012 with the acquisition of Nerdist Industries, LLC, a pop culture blog with an eponymous podcast.[23] Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick announced that he and his partner Peter Levin (founder of GeekChicDaily) would still have complete editorial autonomy and that they would become the new presidents of the digital division, with Levin heading digital strategy and the digital content.[24] In 2014, Legendary acquired both Geek & Sundry, Inc., a YouTube channel and production company[25] and the website Amy Poehler's Smart Girls.[26] On June 10, 2016, LDN announced a subscription streaming service, Alpha, which will include programming from both Nerdist and Geek & Sundry.[27] The Alpha service was shutdown on March 31, 2019.[28]

In July 2020, Legendary laid off 30% of the LDN staff.[29][30] Variety reported that "there was a sense that the operations were a money drain on the company’s profitable film and television operations. Those cuts were accelerated by the onset of COVID-19, which has resulted in layoffs and furloughs across the entertainment industry".[29] The Hollywood Reporter reported that "the digital brands have become less important to the strategic direction of Legendary in recent years as the online content business has shifted away from the networks that grew big during thee early heyday of YouTube stardom. Legendary Digital is not a moneymaker for the business the way its core film and TV divisions are".[30] In April 2021, CBR reported that "Geek & Sundry as an original content producer hasn't exactly been operational for a couple of years".[31]

Legendary Comics[]

Main article: Legendary Comics


The Legendary Comics panel at the 2012 New York Comic Con. From left to right: emcee Chris Hardwick, Bob Schreck, Matt Wagner, Grant Morrison, Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham.

In 2010, the company announced the launch of a comic book division called Legendary Comics, LLC under the direction of editor-in-chief Bob Schreck.[32] The first graphic novel published by the company was Holy Terror by Frank Miller, which was released in 2011.[33]

Legendary Television and Digital Media[]

In 2011, the company announced the creation of Legendary Television to focus on developing television productions. The division was headed by Jeremy Elice and a co-financing contract with Warner Bros. Television was signed.[34] However, in 2012, Legendary decided to postpone its expansion into television and put the division on hold while restructuring; the contract with Warner Bros. was terminated and Elice left the company.[35]

In 2013, Legendary purchased film marketing agency Five33 Ltd. The company, which in the past has worked on marketing campaigns for various studios, will now work exclusively on marketing Legendary's films.[36] Also in 2013, Legendary invested in hiring former head of Warner Bros. Television, Bruce Rosenblum, to head Legendary's television and digital media operations.[37] In December 2013, Legendary acquired television production company Asylum Entertainment, best known for producing sports programming and reality and scripted television series such as Beyond the Glory and The Kennedys.[38]

Legendary East[]

In 2011, the company announced the formation of Legendary East Ltd., a joint venture film production company based in Hong Kong. The purpose of the company is to co-produce films with Chinese companies to bypass Chinese quotas on foreign film releases in the country.

Under an initial agreement with Chinese film distributor Huayi Brothers International, half of the company was to be owned by the shell corporation Paul Y. Engineering Group, 40% was to be owned by Legendary Entertainment (through holding companies such as Legendary Asian Pacific, LLC or Legendary East Holdings, LLC[39]), and 10% was to owned by the Huayi Brothers International.[40] Legendary East initially hoped to produce one to two globally marketed English-language films per year and finance a quarter of the production of an additional two films per year. The company hoped to raise US$220.5 million through the sale of stock of Paul Y. Engineering Group on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by the end of 2011.[41] However, because financing did not meet the targeted goal, Legendary East scrapped the deal with Huayi Brothers International and continued its efforts to secure financing in 2012.[41]

In 2013, Legendary East announced a new agreement with China Film Group. Under the new agreement, the two companies will co-produce multiple films over a three-year period.[42]


Main article: List of Legendary Pictures films


Main article: List of Legendary Television programs


  1. Brophy-Warren, Jamin (2009-02-27). A Producer of Superheroes. The Wall Street Journal.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Abrams, Rachel and Marc Graser (2011-04-15). Legendary Pictures eyes new credit line. Variety.
  3. Business Search for 'Legendary Pictures'. Secretary of State of California.
  4. Fritz, Ben (2010-10-05). Legendary Pictures chairman engineers takeover. Los Angeles Times.
  5. Rainey, James (2015-12-08). Dalian Wanda Eyes Investment in Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures. Variety.
  6. Accel Partners Buys $40M in Legendary Shares. The Wrap (2011-04-06).
  7. Weinstein, Joshua L. (2011-09-20). Jon Jashni Promoted to President of Legendary Pictures. The Wrap.
  8. Fritz, Ben (2012-12-18). Legendary raises $443 million as big 2013 looms. Los Angeles Times.
  9. Faughnder, Ryan (2013-07-10). Legendary Entertainment strikes five-year deal with NBCUniversal. Los Angeles Times.
  10. Faughnder, Ryan (2014-10-03). SoftBank Corp. investing $250 million in Legendary Entertainment. Los Angeles Times.
  11. Andreeva, Nellie (10 December 2013). Legendary Acquires Asylum Entertainment For More Than $100 Million.
  12. Graser, Marc (9 December 2013). Legendary Entertainment Acquires Asylum Entertainment.
  13. Kaiman, Jonathan (January 11, 2016). China's Dalian Wanda Group buys Legendary Entertainment for up to $3.5 billion. Los Angeles Times.
  14. Busch, Anita (17 January 2017). Thomas Tull Exiting As Legendary's Chairman & CEO.
  15. Faughnder, Ryan (2017-10-17). Jack Gao leaves Wanda and Legendary Entertainment (en-US). Los Angeles Times.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jack Gao exits Wanda, Legendary Entertainment as group's global push faces setback.
  17. Wanda's Man in Hollywood Steps Down.
  18. China cracks down on Dalian Wanda's overseas deals: sources. Reuters (2017-07-17).
  19. Fleming, Mike Jr. (2017-12-05). Joshua Grode Takes Legendary CEO Post; How He And Mary Parent Intend To Write Wanda-Backed Company's Next Chapter (en-US).
  20. Template:Cite news
  21. 'Dune' Producer Legendary Entertainment Exploring Sale, Possible Merger (EXCLUSIVE). Variety (July 22, 2021).
  22. Pham, Alex (2009-03-18). It's official: Legendary Pictures hired Kathy Vrabeck to head up digital division. Los Angeles Times.
  23. Finke, Nikki (2012-07-10). TOLDJA! Legendary Acquiring Nerdist On Eve Of Comic-Con.
  24. Legendary Entertainment Acquires Nerdist Industries. Legendary Entertainment (2012-07-10).
  25. Graser, Marc (2014-08-04). Legendary Buys Felicia Day's Geek & Sundry. Variety.
  26. Graser, Marc (2014-10-13). Legendary Entertainment Buys Amy Poehler's Smart Girls at the Party. Variety.
  27. Spangler, Todd (10 June 2016). Legendary Digital Subscription Service to Feature Live, Interactive Shows from Nerdist, Geek & Sundry.
  28. Spangler, Todd (2019-03-02). Legendary Is Shutting Down Alpha Streaming Service From Nerdist, Geek & Sundry (en).
  29. 29.0 29.1 Lang, Brent (2020-07-31). Layoffs Hit Legendary’s Digital Division (EXCLUSIVE) (en-US).
  30. 30.0 30.1 Jarvey, Natalie (July 31, 2020). Legendary Digital Cuts 30 Percent of Staff | Hollywood Reporter.
  31. The History of International Tabletop Day (en-US) (2021-04-07).
  32. Eller, Claudia (2010-11-03). Legendary Pictures forges into comic books. Los Angeles Times.
  33. Boucher, Geoff (2011-06-30). Frank Miller brings 'Holy Terror' to 9/11 anniversary: 'I hope it shakes people up'. Los Angeles Times.
  34. Andreeva, Nellie (2011-01-18). Legendary Pictures Forms TV Division To Be Based At WBTV & Taps AMC's Jeremy Elice.
  35. Andreeva, Nellie (2012-08-22). Legendary Pictures Closes TV Division, Ends Deal With Warner Bros. Television.
  36. Graser, Marc (2013-05-16). Legendary Entertainment Buys Marketing Agency FIVE33. Variety.
  37. James, Meg (2013-06-17). Bruce Rosenblum joins Legendary Entertainment. Los Angeles Times.
  38. Andreeva, Nellie (2013-12-09). Legendary Acquires Asylum Entertainment.
  39. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SOS2
  40. Fritz, Ben (2011-08-22). Legendary East to go public with initial value of $441 million. Los Angeles Times.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Fritz, Ben (2011-12-30). Legendary's China venture faces funding delay. Los Angeles Times.
  42. Graser, Marc (2013-05-30). Legendary East Finds Key Partner in China Film Co.. Variety.

External links[]

Categories: 2000 establishments in California | 2016 mergers and acquisitions | American companies established in 2000 | American subsidiaries of foreign companies | Companies based in Burbank, California | Dalian Wanda Group | Film production companies of the United States | Mass media companies established in 2000

This page was last edited on 14 November 2021, at 13:56 (UTC).

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