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|Industry||Television production and film studio|
|Key people||Tom Griffin and Joe Bacal|
|Parent||Griffin-Bacal Advertising (1984-1998)
Sony Wonder (1998-2000)
TV-Loonland AG (2000-2003)
Sunbow Entertainment was an animation studio, founded in 1980 and owned until 1998 by Griffin-Bacal Advertising in New York. The first animation efforts by Griffin-Bacal were producing the animated commercials for Hasbro's G.I. Joe toy line.
The success of the animated commercials led partners Tom Griffin and Joe Bacal to form Sunbow Productions.
Sunbow is noted for many cartoons aired during the 1980s. Most of their work was co-produced with Marvel Productions (now part of The Walt Disney Company). Although it is not limited to Hasbro's various toy line products its reputation is tied to the many cartoon series tied to them. Its animation was initially produced by the Japanese animation studio Toei Animation, supplemented by the South Korean animation studio AKOM later on. By 1987, most of Hasbro's toy lines were losing money and various internal struggles forced the company to end popular series such as G.I. Joe and Transformers. Two of Sunbow's animated movies, (The Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie) flopped at the box office, forcing a third project, G.I. Joe: The Movie, to be released directly to video instead. Sunbow also worked with TMS Entertainment with Hasbro's Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, and one episode of season 3 of The Transformers, "The Call of The Primitives".
In a bid to produce original material, Sunbow produced several cartoons through the early 1990s such as The Nudnik Show, The Tick and Conan the Adventurer. Of these, only The Tick managed to gain popularity and critical acclaim.
On April 28, 1998 Sunbow Entertainment was bought by Sony Wonder, a division of Sony Music. Sony Wonder's TV production and distribution assets along with Sunbow were sold for US$20.5 million dollars on October 3, 2000 to German animation group TV Loonland AG, which then bought Metrodome Distribution, who had the European rights to the Sunbow catalogue.
Previously, Rhino Entertainment owned the US home video distribution rights to the Sunbow catalogue. The rights then changed hands to Sony Wonder with its acquisition of the catalogue. However, Sony Wonder was shut down in March 2007.
On June 21, 2007 it was announced that Sony Wonder had been moved into Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which at the time owned the US rights to the Sunbow catalogue. On May 14, 2008, Hasbro released news that it had obtained the rights to all the Sunbow Productions animated series based on Hasbro properties. This includes Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Jem and the Holograms, The Great Space Coaster, and many more.
Among the various series produced by Sunbow are:
- Donner (2001)
- The Cramp Twins (2001)
- Lion of Oz (2000)
- Rainbow Fish (1999)
- The Right to Play (1998) (commercial for UNICEF)
- Salty's Lighthouse (1997)
- Deepwater Black (Mission: Genesis in the U.S.) (1997)
- The Brothers Flub (1997)
- G.I. Joe Extreme (1995)
- The Adventures of Hyperman (1995)
- The Mask (1995) (co-production with Dark Horse Entertainment, Film Roman, and New Line Television)
- Littlest Pet Shop (1995)
- Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles (1994) (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero spin-off)
- The Tick (1994) (co-production with Fox Children's Productions, Graz Entertainment. Inc and Saban Entertainment)
- Conan the Adventurer (1992)
- My Little Pony Tales (1992)
- Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars (1991) (co-production with IDDH, Abrams / Gentile Entertainment and Continuity Comics)
- The Nudnik Show (1991)
- Transformers: The Rebirth (1987)
- Transformers: The Return of Optimus Prime (1986)
- Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987) (co-production with TMS Entertainment)
- Transformers: Five Faces of Darkness (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions and Akom Animation Studio)
- My Little Pony 'n Friends (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Robotix (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Inhumanoids (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- The Glo Friends (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- MoonDreamers (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Potato Head Kids (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- The GLO Friends Save Christmas (1985)
- Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines (1985) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Robotix (1985) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Super Sunday (1985) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Jem (1985) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- G.I. Joe (1985) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Transformers (1984) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra (1984) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- The Charmkins (1983) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- The Great Space Coaster (1981) (co-production with Metromedia)
The only movies produced by Sunbow were:
- G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- The Transformers: The Movie (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- Inhumanoids: The Movie (1986) (co-production with Marvel Productions)
- "Screen Daily" MIPCOM: TV-Loonland acquires Sony Wonder screendaily.com "Retrieved on May 22, 2012"
- TVShowsOnDVD.com: Transformers DVD news: SonyWonder Goes Under; Uncertain Future For Transformers DVDs!
- "Hasbro Reacquires Sunbow Cartoons". ign.com. May 15, 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- KNOEDELSEDER Jr, WILLIAM K. (1987-08-22). "Truly Outrageous' Dolls Sing Triple-Platinum Tune". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
- The Ultimate G.I. Joe Cartoon Website
- The Internet Movie Database
- TheTransformers.net Europe's largest Transformers Fan Site
- The Visionaries.net The web's leading resource for Visionaries Cartoon, Visionaries Comic and Visionaries Toy information
- Transformers @ The Moon The largest Transformers resource for Transformers toys, cartoon and comic information
- Rock Jem An extensive resource for the Jem animated series and doll line.