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Studiocanal, Ben Stassen’s nWave Part Ways

Variety logo Variety 6/8/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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PARIS– European film and TV powerhouse Studiocanal and Ben Stassen’s Brussels-based nWave, the company behind 3D animated hits such as “Sammy’s Adventures,” are parting ways on amicable terms.

nWave has bought back the 49.9% stake that Studiocanal held. Since 2010, Studiocanal had been co-financing and distributing nWave’s films in France, the U.K., and Germany. The two companies worked together on “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures,” “The House of Magic,” and “The Wild Life,” as well as the upcoming 3D animated movie “The Son of Bigfoot,” which is scheduled for a summer release.

Didier Lupfer, CEO of Studiocanal, said the company was still committed to financing, co-producing, and distributing quality family entertainment properties and is currently pursuing collaborations with a wide range of partners, such as Aardman Animations (“Shaun the Sheep The Movie,” “Early Man”) on a film-by-film basis. Over the last few years, Studiocanal has become a leading independent purveyor of family entertainment franchises, including “Shaun the Sheep” and “Paddington,” in the international market.

Lupfer added that Studiocanal was increasingly interested in adopting a 360-degree, multi-pronged strategy to develop its family entertainment brands and is therefore looking to work with outfits equipped to produce TV series on top of feature films. nWave, meanwhile, is dedicated to animated films and theme parks.

Stassen said nWave was now exploring new long-term partnership opportunities to “expand its development, production, and distribution efforts.” The outfit’s current production slate includes “The Queen’s Corgi,” which is written by Rob Sprackling and Johnny Smith (“Gnomeo and Juliet”).

Stassen said that nWave was looking to join forces with a company which has “a foot in the door in the U.S. through an output deal with a U.S. distributor or direct distribution operations there.”

Stassen said he aimed at taking nWave productions to the next level, with budgets in the €20 million ($22.4 million) to €25 million ($28 million) range.

nWave Studios is headquartered in Brussels, with North American sales offices in Burbank and Port Orange, Florida.

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