Madman Entertainment

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Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd.
Founded4 August 1996; 25 years ago (1996-08-04)
FoundersTim Anderson
Paul Wiegard
Area served
Australia and New Zealand
Key people
  • Brett Chenoweth (chairman)
  • Tim Anderson
  • Paul Wiegard (CEO)
OwnerFive V Capital
Garage Entertainment
Madman Interactive
Madman Printing

Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd. is an Australian distribution and rights management company, specialising in feature films, documentaries, television series and anime across theatrical and home entertainment formats in Australia and New Zealand. Its headquarters are in East Melbourne, Victoria.


Early history[edit]

Madman launched in 1996 solely as an anime distribution company, but has since expanded. It manages the distribution of live-action titles through its labels Madman Films, Directors Suite, Madman Sports, Madman Laughs, Madman Television, Bollywood Masala and Eastern Eye as well as children's entertainment through its Planet Mad and Mad4Kids labels. Madman also has a theatrical distribution arm called Madman Cinema. In addition, the company distributes programmes acquired or produced by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (and newly, titles from WWE in Australasia, thus replacing Shock Entertainment[1]) on DVD and Blu-ray.[2]

Until 2005, Madman was the distributor for Umbrella Entertainment.[3] Umbrella was established in 2001 and is based in Kew, Victoria.[4][5] It focuses on the genres of horror, cult, arthouse, classics and Ozploitation, as well as restoring and remastering old Australian films.[6][7]

Acquisition by Funtastic Limited[edit]

On 1 May 2006, Madman Group was purchased by Funtastic Limited for A$34.5 million, in order to acquire the media rights to titles for which Funtastic held the toy rights. Madman founders Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard also signed an employment agreement upon the acquisition, remaining on Madman's board of directors.[8]

In 2007, Madman began a licensing agreement to release original Cartoon Network and Adult Swim series on DVD in Australia and New Zealand. Madman also programmed Adult Swim's anime block in the two countries until Cartoon Network Australia dropped its entire Adult Swim lineup on January 1, 2008.[9]

On 23 February 2008, Madman announced that it had reached a distribution deal with Viz Media to distribute Viz Media's manga titles in Australia and New Zealand.[10] The distribution deal ended in April 2016, with Simon & Schuster taking over distribution of Viz's catalogue, and Madman Entertainment ceasing distribution of all manga titles.[11]

At the 2008 Supanova Pop Culture Expo, Madman announced plans to explore new distribution methods. Madman launched the Madman Screening Room, a video on demand streaming service, with School Rumble being the first title on the platform.[12] Madman also began releasing Blu-ray Disc titles, starting with The Transformers: The Movie in June 2009.[13] On 1 June 2009, Madman Entertainment produced an English adaption of Tamagotchi: The Movie, a 2007 film based on the Tamagotchi digital pets from Bandai and WiZ. Madman also intended to dub the film's sequel, Tamagotchi: Happiest Story in the Universe!, but the dub was cancelled for unknown reasons.

In April 2008, the company announced a collaboration with British company Warp Films. Warp and Madman plan to make "at least two films together over the next three years, starting with Tyrannosaur."[14]

Independent company[edit]

On 4 March 2014, Funtastic Limited announced its intention to sell Madman Entertainment due to Madman's market value being half of its carrying value.[15] On 31 July 2014, original founders Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard, along with a small group of investors, purchased Madman Entertainment from Funtastic for A$21 million.[16][17]

In early 2016, Madman announced Madman Anime Festival, an annual anime convention to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The convention was held in Melbourne on 3–4 September of that year.[18] Following the inaugural convention, Madman announced that it would expand to Perth and Brisbane in 2017. The convention also became the host for the preliminary rounds of the Madman National Cosplay Championship in Perth and Brisbane.

In April 2017, Madman Media Group announced it had purchased Garage Entertainment from SurfStitch Group for "a nominal cash consideration", acquiring Garage Entertainment Pty. Ltd. and TMG Media Pty. Ltd., with Madman and SurfStitch agreeing to negotiate a strategic partnership for content development and advertising services.[19]

Changing ownership of Madman Anime Group[edit]

On 17 February 2018, Madman co-founder & CEO Tim Anderson confirmed that on 15 November 2017, Sony Music Entertainment Japan subsidiary Aniplex had become a minority shareholder in Madman's anime business, Madman Anime Group, and was issued an undisclosed number of shares.[20]

On 23 May 2018, it was revealed that investors Adrian MacKenzie, Brett Chenoweth, and Charbel Nader were examining options to sell the Madman Media business, or bring in another investor, after PwC Australia conducted a strategic review, with Madman being valued around A$50 million.[21]

On 6 February 2019, Madman Entertainment sold Madman Anime Group to Aniplex for A$35 million.[17][22]

On 13 February 2020, it was announced that Madman Entertainment, Curzon, and Cinéart partnered to launch a US$1.6 million film development fund for three years. The partnership provides the companies first look options for distribution, and is expected to back 16 projects.[23]


DocPlay is a video-on-demand streaming service dedicated to streaming documentaries. The serviced was launched by Madman Entertainment on 1 December 2016 as a subscription-only service, and included 130 documentary titles, with 20 Australian titles.[24]

On 29 November 2016, it was announced that Madman Entertainment were the recipients of Screen Australia's Enterprise funding program, with Madman launching DocPlay to allow for a revenue-sharing model for filmmakers of documentaries on the platform. The funding also allowed for DocPlay to acquire and stream Australian documentaries on the service.[25]

DocPlay later reached a content agreement with ABC Commercial to expand DocPlay's content by adding 180 hours of factual content from ABC's library onto the service. The deal included locally produced content, as well as content from New Zealand and the United Kingdom.[26]

Madman Anime Group[edit]

Madman Anime Group Pty. Ltd.
  • 1996; 26 years ago (1996) (as Madman Entertainment)
  • 12 October 2016; 5 years ago (2016-10-12) (incorporated as a separate company)
FounderTim Anderson
Paul Wiegard
Area served
Australia, New Zealand
Key people
Tim Anderson (managing director)
ParentFunimation Global Group

Madman Anime Group Pty. Ltd. is an Australian distribution company focused on anime and Japanese media. Originally founded in 2016 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Madman Entertainment, it was sold to Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Aniplex subsidiary in 2019. The company handles licensing and distribution of anime in Australia and hosting the Madman Anime Festival.

In late 2018, Madman confirmed that they had reached a distribution deal with Funimation, with Madman becoming the local distributors for select Funimation titles in Australia and New Zealand, and Funimation handling licensing and localisation for titles.[27][28]

On 24 September 2019, Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television announced that they were consolidating their international anime streaming services under a new joint venture comprising Funimation, Madman Anime Group and Wakanim.[29] The consolidation reorganized AnimeLab as a direct subsidiary of Funimation.[30]


AnimeLab Pty. Ltd.
AnimeLab 2019.png
Logo used from 2019 to 2021
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Video on demand
Available inEnglish
Dissolved9 December 2021; 50 days ago (2021-12-09)
Area servedAustralia and New Zealand
ParentFunimation Global Group
Users1 million (2018)[31]
Launched28 May 2014; 7 years ago (2014-05-28)
Current statusClosed; content merged to Funimation

AnimeLab Pty. Ltd. was a video on demand service that specialised in the online streaming and simulcasting of Japanese anime series, serving the Australian and New Zealand market.[32]

AnimeLab originally launched in beta on 28 May 2014 as a Madman Entertainment skunkworks project with 50 series and 700 episodes, and replaced the Madman Screening Room. During its beta, AnimeLab streamed its series for free without advertisements.[32] Originally streaming titles exclusively from Madman's catalogue, on 4 September 2014, distributor Siren Visual announced that they would release titles on AnimeLab, starting with The Devil is a Part-Timer!.[33] AnimeLab also simulcasted Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, despite Hanabee acquiring the distribution license for the series.[34]

On 26 May 2015, AnimeLab announced that the website had exited beta, and introduced a paid subscription, alongside an ad-based free service.[35]

In August 2016, AnimeLab launched AnimeLab On-Air, an anime programming block airing originally on Friday nights on C31 Melbourne and C44 Adelaide.[36] The block later moved to a Monday night schedule.[37]

On 25 August 2017, AnimeLab announced that they would begin streaming select titles from Adult Swim's back catalogue.[38] The Adult Swim titles were later removed in 2020.

At Madman Anime Festival Melbourne 2018, AnimeLab announced that they had reached one million users.[31] AnimeLab also announced a collaboration with the Australian Red Cross to promote blood donations in Australia with the simulcast of Cells at Work!.[39]

On 24 January 2020, Funimation announced that it would be shutting down access to FunimationNow in Australia and New Zealand on 30 March, merging all of Funimation's titles onto AnimeLab.[40]

On 10 June 2021, AnimeLab announced that it would begin the process of rebranding as Funimation on 17 June, with current AnimeLab subscriber credentials being transitioned onto Funimation's website on that date.[41][42]

On 2 November 2021, AnimeLab announced that it would retire the service on 9 December 2021.[43]


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