|Founded||October 26, 1984|
|Headquarters||Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Divisions||Film Roman Baja J.V.|
Film Roman, LLC, is an American animation studio currently based in Woodland Hills, California and formerly in Burbank. It was previously owned by Starz Inc., which is now a division of Lionsgate, and currently by Waterman Entertainment, the production company of producer Steve Waterman.
Founded by veteran animator and director Phil Roman on October 26, 1984, it is best known for providing animation for the Garfield primetime specials, based on Jim Davis' comic strip of the same name. The studio also produced the animated series The Simpsons, The Critic, King of the Hill, Family Guy, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, The Goode Family, and Dan Vs..
Phil Roman, veteran alumnus of MGM Animation/Visual Arts and Bill Melendez Productions, founded Film Roman on October 26, 1984 as a means to continue the production of the Garfield television specials, since Melendez's own studio was unable to work on both the Peanuts and Garfield specials. Peanuts executive producers Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez and their aforementioned studio had produced the first two Garfield specials, but due to both Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz' and Garfield creator Jim Davis' concerns about conflicting interests in allocating production priority at Melendez's boutique studio, the production had to be moved. While he was leaving him and Melendez for his already-established studio, Roman was offered the opportunity to produce the next Garfield prime time special, Garfield in the Rough (1984), for CBS by Mendelson, which he accepted and went on to produce and direct all by himself, winning an Emmy in the process.
In 1985, CBS' head of children's programming Judy Price had commissioned an animated television series based on the Garfield prime time special series, later ultimately titled Garfield and Friends, which took three years for Roman to decide developing and producing the program before it eventually aired on the network's Saturday morning time slot, premiering on September 17, 1988. The aforementioned show was Film Roman's first regular series. In 1986, in an effort to expand and diversify the studio, Roman hired Marvel Productions VP of Business Affairs and his own personal attorney, Michael Wahl, as President and Bill Schultz, Marvel's Director of Development, to join in the company as the fledgling studio's VP of Production and Development. Garfield and Friends was expanded to an hour on CBS' number one rated Saturday Morning block and the studio grew to increase its capacity.
In 1988, the new management team developed, sold and produced a new series, Bobby's World, to the brand new Fox Kids Network, headed up by former Marvel Productions president Margaret Loesch. In 1992 to 2016, Film Roman took over the source production of 20th Century Fox's The Simpsons from Klasky-Csupo who had produced the one-minute teaser cartoon shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show as well as the animation for the first three seasons and the first two episodes of the fourth season (in total 61 episodes). The studio went on to grow and produce many popular animated series now seen all around the world.
In 1999, Film Roman attempted to get into the syndication market with the launch of Max Degree TV, which would have consisted of three shows, Mission Extreme from Steve Tisch, Skins from the Deep from SFX artist Steve Wang, and a new Wes Archer cartoon Victor, but it never got off the ground.
Waterman Entertainment ownership
In 2015, Film Roman was acquired from its parent company Starz Distribution by Waterman Entertainment, the production company of executive producer Steve Waterman. As such, it now does business with Starz, which owns the company's catalogue.
On November 22, 2016, the company formed a joint venture based in Tijuana, called Film Roman Baja J.V. (also known as Film Roman Baja Productions), with Boxel Studios, a Baja California-based animation facility.
The original studio was located on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, California, where Roman was also joined by Melendez producer Lee Mendelson. Years later, the studio moved to a new location on Chandler Blvd. in Studio City, before settling into another location at Starz Plaza on Hollywood Way in Burbank, which it shared with the former Hub Network and Hasbro Studios, and finally settling into its present location in Woodland Hills.
- Get in Line (Barenaked Ladies music video)
- Frijolero (Molotov music video)
- The Simpsons Game (2007, produced by Electronic Arts) (cutscenes only)
- The Simpsons Ride (2008, amusement simulator ride film produced for the attraction of the same name at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood)
- The Simpsons: Tapped Out (2012, freemium mobile game produced for Fox Digital Entertainment and Electronic Arts) (cutscenes only)
- Ask Jeeves (2000) (five-minute branding reel)
- Burger King (2001–2003)
- Butterfinger (1992–1994, 1998–2001, 2007)
- CC's (1998)
- C.C. Lemon (2000–2002)
- Embassy Suites Hotel
- Expedia (2003)
- Garfield Fruit Snacks
- General Foods
- Honey Nut Cheerios (1993) (Garfield ad only)
- Intel (1998)
- Matchbox (2002) (CGI sales presentation animated by Forum Visual Effects)
- Microsoft (2003)
- Mirinda (2005–2006, 2008)
- Partnership for a Drug-Free America (2002)
- RC Cola (1999)
- SeaWorld (1998)
- SHO Too (2002)
- Toyota (1992–1993)
- Trix (1991)
- Blues Brothers: The Animated Series (Canceled due to irreplaceable casting of the original actors)
- Max Degree TV (Cancelled due to lack of international backers)
- Big Bug Man (Canceled due to actor Marlon Brando died during production)
- Phil Roman Entertainment
- Starz Animation
- Klasky Csupo
- Rough Draft Studios
- Wang Film Productions
- Saerom Animation
- Sunmin Image Pictures
- Sunwoo Entertainment
- Bardel Entertainment
- Boulder Media
- Bento Box Entertainment
- McNary, Dave (November 12, 2015). "'Simpsons' Animator Film Roman Bought by Waterman Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
- DataBase, The Big Cartoon. "Film Roman Productions Studio Directory". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 2023-04-25.
- Hofmeister, Sallie (April 2, 1998). "COMPANY TOWN; Drawing on Creativity; A Struggling Film Roman Tries to Reanimate Itself". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
- Kirkland, Mark (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Kamp Krusty" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Bernstein, Sharon (1992-01-21). "'The Simpsons' Producer Changes Animation Firms". The Los Angeles Times. p. 18. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
- Schlosser, Joe (July 19, 1999). "Film Roman on syndie march" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. p. 48. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
- Pursell, Chris (1999-07-19). "Film Roman to ride teen wave". Variety. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
- "No Max deal" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. December 13, 1999. p. 118. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
- N'Duka, Amanda (21 November 2016). "Film Roman Teams With Boxel Studios To Form Film Roman Baja J.V." deadline.com.
- "Film Roman To Produce Animation For The Man Show". June 5, 2001.
- Head, Steve (May 6, 2003). "Angels Ready for Animated Debut". IGN. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
- "AdamKlein_resume.qxd" (PDF).
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Honey Nut Cheerios with Garfield (1993)". YouTube.
- "Film Roman Gets Shagged For Sho Too". May 29, 2002.
- "Blues Brothers - The Animates Series". Blues Brothers Central. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009.