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March 30 – April 6, 2006 Edition
Film/TV VentureNEW YORK, NY/3/27/06In an arrangement that will bring a number of children’s book properties into development, Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Walden Media LLC, the film and educational services company, have embarked on a multi-year creative and strategic joint venture encompassing publishing, film and television. The agreement was announced today by Doug Whiteman, Executive Vice President of Penguin Group (USA) Inc./ President of Penguin Young Readers Group and Micheal Flaherty, President and co-founder of Walden Media.
The joint venture’s film and television properties will be derived from newly published, forthcoming, and backlist titles for which motion picture rights are available or can be acquired. Penguin Young Readers Group will also co-publish books adapted from Walden Media screenplays and other tie-in related titles. Currently, the joint venture encompasses projects emanating from virtually all of Penguin Young Readers Group’s imprints.
These projects include Mike Lupica’s Heat (Philomel) Joseph Bruchac’s Jim Thorpe, Original All-American (Dial), Zach Helm’s Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Dutton and Puffin), The Tortoise and the Hippo, Bob Fuller’s Paddywhack Lane (both Grosset & Dunlap), and Michael Reitman’s The Teacher’s Edition (Razorbill). The first jointly published book, Jim Thorpe, Original All-American (to be published in August 2006) and tells the story of the legendary athlete’s college football days. Thorpe will also be the subject of the forthcoming Walden Media film Carlisle School.
A key aspect of this joint venture is that Walden Media will maintain a presence in Penguin’s New York offices. Under the direction of Walden Media Vice President of Publishing Deborah Kovacs, Walden will maintain an active role in the editorial and marketing process on projects emanating from this partnership. All books co-published under this joint venture will feature the Walden Media imprint alongside that of one of Penguin’s brands. In addition, Walden Media and Penguin will combine forces to promote and publicize their joint projects throughout the education, library and trade markets. The move marks an expansion into the publishing world for Walden Media.
Penguin Young Readers Group is a global leader in children’s publishing. Its imprints are home to Ludwig Bemelmans, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Don Freeman, Eric Hill, Brian Jacques, Robert McCloskey, A. A. Milne, Richard Peck, Patricia Polacco, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also proud of its favorite characters such as The Little Engine That Could and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and modern classic novels like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Westing Game, and The Outsiders.
Produced by Walden Media in association with Walt Disney Pictures, the Academy Award®-winning film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the top grossing domestic release of the 2005 holiday season. To date it has made over $700 million in the box office world-wide. Upcoming Walden Media film releases include Hoot and How to Eat Fried Worms with New Line Cinema, and Charlotte’s Web with Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies.
Doug Whiteman commented, “I am immensely pleased with the early progress of this venture. The people with whom we’ve been working at Walden Media have all taken a true partnership approach to our relationship, and have been focused on making great things happen with great books. That is their mission, and they live and breathe it.”
Micheal Flaherty commented, “For years, teachers, after school group leaders and librarians have been advocating for Walden Media to move into the publishing space. With the tremendous partnership we’ve established with our friends at Penguin, we can finally maximize the strong trust we developed with our audience and deliver the high level of quality product in publishing that we do in our films.”
Penguin Group (USA) is the U.S. affiliate of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children’s trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Berkley Books, Dutton, Frederick Warne, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Grosset & Dunlap, New American Library, Penguin, Philomel, Plume, Puffin Books, Riverhead Books and Viking, among others. The Penguin Group is part of Pearson (FTSE: PSON; NYSE: PSO). Pearson is an international media company with market leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing. For more information, visit http://www.pearson.com.
Founded by Cary Granat, former president of Miramax Films’ Dimension label, and education reformer Micheal Flaherty, Walden Media, a subsidiary of the Anschutz Film Group (AFG), specializes in entertainment that sparks the imagination and curiosity of kids and provides parents and teachers with materials to continue the learning process. For more information, please visit http://www.walden.com.
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