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Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC, doing business as Legendary Entertainment or simply Legendary, is an American media company based in Burbank, California. The company was founded by Thomas Tull in 2000 and in 2005 concluded an agreement to co-produce and co-finance films with Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures. 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. 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. Legendary Pictures, Inc. was incorporated in California in 2000 and in 2005 it signed an agreement with Warner Bros. to co-produce and co-finance up to 40 films over seven years. 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. Golden Harvest later sold its stake in the company for $30 million. In 2011, Accel Partners bought $40 million-worth of shares and Accel partner Jim Breyer joined the company's board of directors. That same year the company was reported to have been valued at more than $1 billion. In September 2011, Chief Creative Officer Jon Jashni was appointed to the new position of President. In December 2012, Waddell & Reed bought around 20% of Legendary's shares for $443 million.
In July 2013, Legendary reached an agreement with Universal Pictures in which it will market, co-finance, and distribute Legendary's films for five years starting in 2014, the year that Legendary's similar agreement with Warner Bros. expires. 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.
In 2014, Legendary acquired the TV 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.
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.
On January 17, 2017, it was announced that Tull had exited as Legendary Entertainment CEO. He was replaced by the senior vice president of Wanda's cultural industry group, Jack Gao, as interim CEO.
On October 17, 2017, it was reported that Gao stepped down from his positions at Legendary Entertainment and Wanda Group. 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". 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.
On December 5, 2017, it was announced that Joshua Grode had been named as Legendary Entertainment CEO.
In addition to producing American films, Legendary Entertainment has announced various other business endeavors.
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. The goal of the division was reoriented in 2012 with the acquisition of Nerdist Industries, LLC, a pop culture blog with a eponymous podcast. 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. In 2014, Legendary acquired both Geek & Sundry, Inc., a YouTube channel and production company and the website Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. On June 10, 2016, LDN announced a subscription streaming service, Alpha, which will include programming from both Nerdist and Geek & Sundry.
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. The first graphic novel published by the company was Holy Terror by Frank Miller, which was released in 2011.
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. 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.
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. Also in 2013, Legendary invested in hiring former head of Warner Bros. Television, Bruce Rosenblum, to head Legendary's television and digital media operations. 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.
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), and 10% was to owned by the Huayi Brothers International. 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. 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.
Legendary Entertainment has produced 53 feature films. In addition, the company is also in the process of producing an additional five films and is developing various other projects. Of the 53 feature films produced, 48 have had theatrical releases, one has had a direct-to-video release, and four have had video on demand releases. Note that in most cases the distributor or distributors also co-produced the film. In all cases, the film listed is a work of Legendary Pictures, unless the film's name is followed by a subscript "E", indicating that Legendary East is the production company or a subscript "D", indicating that Legendary Digital Media is the production company. The box office column reflects the worldwide gross for the theatrical release of the film in United States dollars, not adjusted for inflation.
|Year||Title||Director||Co-production company(s)||Distributor(s)||Box office||Ref.|
|2005||Batman Begins||Christopher Nolan||Syncopy||Warner Bros.||$374,218,673|||
|2006||Superman Returns||Bryan Singer||Peters Entertainment / Bad Hat Harry||$391,081,192|||
|Lady in the Water||M. Night Shyamalan||Blinding Edge Pictures||$72,785,169|||
|The Ant Bully||John A. Davis||Playtone / DNA Productions||$55,181,129|||
|Beerfest||Jay Chandrasekhar||Gerber Pictures / Cataland Films / Broken Lizard||$20,387,597|||
|We Are Marshall||McG||Thunder Road Pictures / Wonderland Sound and Vision||$43,545,364|||
|300||Zack Snyder||Virtual Studios||$456,068,181|||
|2008||10,000 BC||Roland Emmerich||Centropolis||$269,784,201|||
|The Dark Knight||Christopher Nolan||Syncopy||$1,004,558,444|||
|2009||Watchmen||Zack Snyder||Lawrence Gordon Productions||Warner Bros. / Paramount||$185,258,983|||
|Observe and Report||Jody Hill||DeLine Pictures||Warner Bros.||$26,973,554|||
|The Hangover||Todd Phillips||Green Hat Films||$467,483,912|||
|Trick 'r Treat||Michael Dougherty||Bad Hat Harry||--|||
|Where the Wild Things Are||Spike Jonze||Playtone / Village Roadshow Pictures||$100,086,793|||
|Ninja Assassin||James McTeigue||Dark Castle Entertainment / Silver Pictures / Anarchos Productions||$61,601,280|||
|2010||Clash of the Titans||Louis Leterrier||Thunder Road Pictures / The Zanuck Company||$493,214,993|||
|Jonah Hex||Jimmy Hayward||Mad Chance / Weed Road Pictures||$10,903,312|||
|The Town||Ben Affleck||GK Films / Thunder Road Pictures||$154,026,136|||
|Due Date||Todd Phillips||Green Hat Films||$211,780,824|||
|2011||Sucker Punch||Zack Snyder||Cruel and Unusual Films||$89,792,502|||
|The Hangover Part II||Todd Phillips||Green Hat Films||$586,764,305|||
|2012||Wrath of the Titans||Jonathan Liebesman||Thunder Road Pictures||$305,270,083|||
|The Dark Knight Rises||Christopher Nolan||Syncopy||$1,084,439,099|||
|2013||Jack the Giant Slayer||Bryan Singer||New Line Cinema / Original Film / Big Kid Pictures / Bad Hat Harry||$197,687,603|||
|The Hangover Part III||Todd Phillips||Green Hat Films||$362,000,072|||
|Man of Steel||Zack Snyder||Syncopy||$668,045,518|||
|Pacific Rim||Guillermo del Toro||DDY||$411,002,906|||
|2014||300: Rise of an Empire||Noam Murro||Cruel and Unusual Films / Atmosphere Pictures / Hollywood Gang||$337,580,051|||
|Godzilla||Gareth Edwards||--||Warner Bros. / Toho||$529,076,069|||
|As Above, So Below||John Erick Dowdle||Brothers Dowdle Productions||Universal||$41,898,409|||
|Dracula Untold||Gary Shore||Michael De Luca Productions||$217,124,280|||
|Interstellar||Christopher Nolan||Syncopy / Lynda Obst Productions||Paramount / Warner Bros.||$675,120,017|||
|Seventh Son||Sergei Bodrov||Thunder Road Pictures / Wigram Productions||Universal||$114,178,613|||
|Unbroken||Angelina Jolie||Jolie Pas / 3 Arts Entertainment||$163,278,357|||
|2015||Blackhat||Michael Mann||Forward Pass||$19,589,056|||
|Dead Rising: Watchtower (D)||Zach Lipovsky||Contradiction Films / Di Bonaventura Digital||Crackle / Content Media||--|||
|Jurassic World||Colin Trevorrow||Amblin Entertainment||Universal||$1,670,400,637|||
|Straight Outta Compton||F. Gary Gray||New Line Cinema / Cube Vision / Crucial Films / Broken Chair Flickz||$201,634,991|||
|Steve Jobs||Danny Boyle||Scott Rudin Productions / Mark Gordon Company / Entertainment 360 / Decibel Films / Cloud Eight Films||$34,441,873|||
|Crimson Peak||Guillermo del Toro||DDY||$74,679,822|||
|Krampus||Michael Dougherty||Zam Pictures||$61,548,707|||
|2016||Fastball||Jonathan Hock||Major League Baseball||Gravitas Ventures||--|||
|Warcraft||Duncan Jones||Atlas Entertainment||Universal||$433,537,548|||
|Dead Rising: Endgame (D)||Pat Williams||DR2 / Contradiction Films||Crackle||--|||
|The Thinning (D)||Michael Gallagher||--||YouTube Red||--|||
|Spectral (D)||Nic Mathieu||--||Netflix||--|||
|The Great Wall (E)||Zhang Yimou||Atlas Entertainment / Kava Productions / Le Vision Pictures||Universal / CFGC||$331,957,105|||
|2017||Kong: Skull Island||Jordan Vogt-Roberts||Tencent Pictures||Warner Bros.||$559,015,391|||
|2018||Pacific Rim: Uprising||Steven S. DeKnight||DDY||Universal||$232,101,980|||
|Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom||J. A. Bayona||Amblin Entertainment / Perfect World Pictures||$1,295,525,720|||
|Skyscraper||Rawson Marshall Thurber||Flynn Picture Company / Seven Bucks Productions||$304,868,961|||
|Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again||Ol Parker||Littlestar / Playtone / Perfect World Pictures||$393,500,000|||
|BlacKkKlansman||Spike Lee||Blumhouse Productions / Monkeypaw Productions / 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks / QC Entertainment / Perfect World Pictures||Focus / Universal||$90,895,952|||
|2019||Little||Tina Gordon Chism||Will Packer Productions / Perfect World Pictures||Universal||$48 million|
|Pokémon Detective Pikachu||Rob Letterman||The Pokémon Company||Warner Bros. / Toho||$425 million|
|Godzilla: King of the Monsters||Michael Dougherty||Huahua Media||$366 million|
|Box office total:||$13,499,443,406||--|
For the purposes of this list, films that are "in production" and pre-production are films whose principal photography is ongoing or finished. Films in development are not included in this list.
|2020||Godzilla vs. Kong||Adam Wingard||Warner Bros.|||
|Red Notice||Rawson Marshall Thurber||Netflix|
|2021||Jurassic World 3||Colin Trevorrow||Universal|
|TBA||Enola Holmes||Harry Bradbeer||Universal|||
|2015-||Series||The Expanse||Syfy (2015-2018)
|2016||Miniseries||Electra Woman and Dyna Girl||Fullscreen|||
|2018||Miniseries||The Looming Tower||Hulu|
|2018-||Series||Lost in Space||Netflix|||
|2019-||Series||Carnival Row||Amazon Prime|