Zag Comes to Amer­ica

Zag­toon brings La­dy­bug to Li­cens­ing Expo ahead of the open­ing of its new Glen­dale stu­dios and big plans for the United States. By Tom McLean.

Animation Magazine - - Licensing -

Some­times, there is just no sub­sti­tute for be­ing right where the ac­tion is. And that’s the rea­son ZAG is plan­ning to make a big splash in the United States with the mar­ket de­but of its full CGI an­i­mated se­ries La­dy­bug and the open­ing of its new TV & fea­ture film stu­dios in Glen­dale.

“To suc­cess­fully es­tab­lish global fran­chises, you also need that U.S. spirit in­side the project,” says Jeremy Zag, the Parisian founder of Zag­toon, a di­vi­sion of ZAG En­ter­tain­ment.

A pro­lific an­i­ma­tion pro­ducer well-known in Europe, ZAG is build­ing a 40,000-square-foot stu­dio in Glen­dale, just down the street from DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion, the Dis­ney cre­ative cam­pus and Nick­elodeon that will house pro­duc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­ec­u­tive of­fices and cre­ative talent. (It also will in­clude an au­then­tic French bistro that will be open to the pub­lic) Now un­der con­struc­tion, the goal is for the stu­dio cam­pus to be open and fully func­tional later this sum­mer.

“The new stu­dio is ex­pected to launch with three new fran­chises with U.S. broad­cast­ers and mas­ter toy part­ners on board, us­ing both U.S. and French talent,” Zag says. “We need to have a pres­ence in the U.S. to make that hap­pen.”

As part of its in­tro­duc­tion to the United States, ZAG is for the first time bring­ing one of its prop­er­ties to an Amer­i­can trade show with the ar­rival of La­dy­bug at this year’s Li­cens­ing Expo in Las Ve­gas.

In pro­duc­tion with a green light for 26 halfhour episodes, La­dy­bug tells the tale of Parisian ju­nior high-school stu­dent Marinette, who is a some­what shy stu­dent by day and a su­per­hero by night. She teams up to save the city from evil with an­other su­per­hero named Chat Noir, who is se­cretly by day her class­mate Adrien. Nei­ther knows the other’s se­cret iden­tity — nor that they se­cretly have a crush on each other.

The CGI-an­i­mated se­ries was the No. 1 se­lec­tion at the 2013 MIP­COM Jr. World­wide Screen­ing and has since achieved global dis­tri­bu­tion in more than 120 mar­kets, as well as part­ner­ships with Dis­ney, TF1, SamG, SK, Toei An­i­ma­tion, Method, Bandai, PGS and AB GROUP.

Talks with broad­cast­ers are un­der­way to bring the se­ries to air in the United States, with fu­ture plans for the fran­chise, in­clud­ing a sig­nif­i­cant li­cens­ing pro­gram and po­ten­tial full-length fea­ture film.

Additional an­i­mated prop­er­ties in ZAG’s pipe­line in­clude Ghost Force, an ac­tion-com­edy about teenage ghost hunters ex­pected to go into pro­duc­tion this year, and a mu­sic property called Su­per­star that is in de­vel­op­ment. Ghost Force is one of sev­eral brands ZAG is de­vel­op­ing with Man of Ac­tion Stu­dios, cre­ators of Ben 10.

“We are very happy to make pro­duc­tions with teams of in­ter­na­tional talent based in Europe, Asia and North Amer­ica,” says Zag.

He founded Zag­toon, a TV di­vi­sion of Zag En­ter­tain­ment, in 2009 with Jacqueline Tord­j­man and be­gan de­vel­op­ing prop­er­ties through­out Europe, the United States and Asia. ZAG cur­rently has of­fices in Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Brussels and Los Angeles.

France-based Zag­toon is pre­par­ing a ma­jor U.S. launch, leading off with its su­per­hero se­ries La­dy­bug.

Jeremy Zag

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