Big Idea Entertainment

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Big Idea Entertainment, LLC
Subsidiary
FoundedFebruary 1989; 30 years ago (1989-02) (GRAFx Studios)
August 6, 1993; 26 years ago (1993-08-06) (Big Idea)
Founders
Key people
  • Mike Nawrocki
  • (executive vice president)
  • Leslie Ferrell
  • (general manager)
  • Tim Hodge
  • (director)
ProductsAnimated direct-to-video programs
Animated television series
Animated theatrical films
OwnerComcast
Parent

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC (formerly known as Big Idea Productions, Inc. and Big Idea, Inc.; also simply as Big Idea) is an American Christian animation studio best known for its computer-animated VeggieTales series of Christian-themed home videos.

Founded in February 1989 as GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer, the company was renamed as Big Idea Productions in August 1993 and released its first direct-to-video VeggieTales program by December. In 2002, Big Idea adapted the Biblical story of Jonah for its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, which was co-produced with FHE Pictures. Its second theatrical film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, was co-produced with Starz Animation and released in 2008. At present, the company is a subsidiary of DreamWorks Classics, which in turn is owned by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast.

As soon as VeggieTales was cancelled in March 2018, its headquarters in Nashville closed, but some of the company's operations continued. NBCUniversal eventually reopened Big Idea Entertainment in 2019 and allowed them to create more VeggieTales content (including a reboot) without DreamWorks' involvement.[not verified in body]

History[edit]

Big Idea was founded in February 1989 under the name GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer to create graphics in television commercials.[1] In 1991, Vischer created a 12-second short film called Mr. Cuke's Screen Test. This short inspired him and Mike Nawrocki to create VeggieTales, with Nawrocki coming up with the name. Fischer thought the name "GRAFx" no longer suited a company about to create children's videos, so he renamed it as Big Idea Productions, Inc. on August 6, 1993.[1] The company released its first video, Where's God When I'm S-Scared? in December of the same year.

Rapidly running out of office space, Big Idea relocated to the Chicago suburbs in 1997 with the purchase of the DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois.[2] However, renovation delays, unforeseen building conditions, and lengthy zoning battles resulted. In the interim, the company was guided by Lombard City officials to rent space at the Yorktown Center, a local mall.

In a co-production with FHE Pictures, Big Idea released its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie on October 4, 2002.

On September 2, 2003, Big Idea declared bankruptcy after encountering management and financial issues and a lawsuit by Lyrick Studios in 2001. By the end of the year, it was auctioned off to Classic Media for $19.3 million.[3][4][5] After its purchase, the company relocated to Nashville in 2004.

Big Idea partnered with Toronto-based Starz Animation to produce its second theatrical feature film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, which was released on January 11, 2008.[6]

In March 2009, Entertainment Rights sold its UK- and US-based subsidiaries, including Big Idea and Classic Media, to Boomerang Media.[7] As of 2011 Big Idea, Inc. has been repackaged officially as Big Idea Entertainment, LLC. In July 2012, Big Idea's parent company, Classic Media, was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed DreamWorks Classics.

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced that it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[8] The sale was completed on August 22, 2016.[9][10]

On July 3, 2018, Vischer confirmed that Big Idea's offices in Nashville were shut down shortly afterward. The employees continue to work for Big Idea, and have not been laid off.[11]

In March 2019, it was announced that the Trinity Broadcasting Network was picking up the broadcasting rights to a new VeggieTales series to air on their networks.[citation needed] Vischer confirmed on Twitter that he and Nawrocki were both returning to Big Idea as full-time staff to work on the series, tentatively titled The VeggieTales Show.[12]

VeggieTales history[edit]

VeggieTales is a series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables and conveying moral themes based on Christianity, spliced with joking references to pop culture and current events. VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provide many of the voices. VeggieTales has also been released as books, games, and many other branded items such as toys and clothing. Additionally, the series has been adapted for television broadcast on Qubo (where it aired from September 9, 2006, to September 5, 2009)[13] and on Netflix where DreamWorks Animation Television produced two series, VeggieTales in the House[14] (which ran from November 26, 2014 to September 23, 2016) and VeggieTales in the City (which ran from February 24 to September 15, 2017).

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Released films[edit]

# Title Release date Co-production with Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie October 4, 2002 FHE Pictures $14 million $25.6 million 65% 58
2 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie January 11, 2008 Starz Animation $15 million $13.2 million 39% 49

Direct-to-video programs[edit]

# Title Premiere date End date
1 VeggieTales December 21, 1993 March 3, 2015
2 3-2-1 Penguins! November 14, 2000 July 1, 2003
3 Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures March 16, 2002 June 10, 2003

Television specials[edit]

# Title Release date Network
1 VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular! December 19, 1998 PAX
1 VeggieTales: The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown September 18, 2001 PAX

Television series[edit]

# Title Premiere date End date Network
1 VeggieTales on TV September 9, 2006 April 10, 2009 Qubo
2 3-2-1 Penguins! October 6, 2007 November 13, 2008
3 VeggieTales in the House November 26, 2014 September 23, 2016 Netflix
4 VeggieTales in the City February 24, 2017 September 15, 2017
5 The VeggieTales Show October 22, 2019 TBN

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vischer, Phil (2008). Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 978-1-5955-5122-1. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "Big Idea Productions, Inc. -- Company History". Funding Universe. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  3. ^ "What Happened to Big Idea? (Part 10) - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. January 24, 2005.
  4. ^ Hertz, Todd. "Big Idea Loses Suit". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Warren, Hillary (2005). There's Never Been a Show Like Veggie Tales: Sacred Messages in a Secular Market. Lanham, MD: AltMira Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-759105690. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Hetherington, Janet (January 11, 2008). "Seriously Silly: 'The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "Boomerang buys Big Idea". ChristianCinema.com. April 6, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  8. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Comcast Completes Its $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Deadline. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal completes purchase of DreamWorks Animation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Vischer, Phil. "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Big Idea still exists. The HQ office in Nashville closed. Several people still work out of their homes managing social media and other deals. There could still be more veggies...."". Twitter. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Correction - TBN is licensing VT from Universal... they didn't buy it. Bob and Larry still live with Shrek and Donkey and Minions. BUT... TBN is producing new eps and Mike and I are writing!"". Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  13. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (September 23, 2006). "NBC Issues New Explanation for VeggieTales Cuts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  14. ^ Brian, Matt (March 13, 2014). "Netflix's three new originals include 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar' spin-offs". Engadget.com. Retrieved April 5, 2015.

External links[edit]