Sunbow Entertainment

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Sunbow Entertainment, LLC
IndustryTelevision production and film studio
FoundedJune 23, 1980
FounderLee Gunther Edit this on Wikidata
DefunctOctober 21, 2004
HeadquartersNew York, United States
Key people
Tom Griffin and Joe Bacal
ParentGriffin-Bacal Advertising (1980–1998)
Sony Wonder (1998–2000)
TV-Loonland AG (2000–2004)

Sunbow Entertainment was an animation studio, founded in 1980 and owned until 1998 by Griffin-Bacal Advertising in New York City and in the United States. Griffin-Bacal's first animations were 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. Due to their close working relationship with Hasbro, Sunbow came to be recognized as the toy giant's unofficial television arm.

Company overview[edit]

Sunbow is noted for many cartoons aired during the 1980s. Most of their work was co-produced with Marvel Productions. Although it is not limited to Hasbro's various toy lines its reputation is linked to the 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 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. Sunbow also worked with TMS Entertainment with Hasbro's Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light.

In a bid to produce original material, Sunbow produced several cartoons through the early 1990s such as The Tick and Conan the Adventurer. Only The Tick managed to gain popularity and critical acclaim.

On May 4, 1998, Sony Wonder, a division of Sony Music, bought Sunbow Productions[1] and it was later bought by TV-Loonland on October 3, 2000, as well as Sony Wonder's television business assets,[2][3] which then bought Metrodome Distribution, who had the European rights to the Sunbow catalogue. In 2004, Loonland shut down Sunbow.

Previously, Rhino Entertainment owned the U.S. 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.[4]

On June 20, 2007, it was announced that Sony Wonder had been moved into Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which at the time owned the U.S. rights to the Sunbow catalogue.[5][6] On May 14, 2008, Hasbro announced 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, and many more.[7][8][9][10] These titles are currently managed as part of the Allspark Animation library.

TV-Loonland filed for bankruptcy in 2009;[11] its catalogue was acquired by German distributor m4e AG in April 2011.[12] In February 2017, a Belgian production company Studio 100 purchased a majority stake in m4e.[13]



Show Year Network Notes
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1983–1986 Syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name with Marvel Productions[14]
The Transformers 1984–1987 Syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name with Marvel Productions[14]
Super Sunday (aka Super Saturday) 1985 Syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name co-produced with Marvel Productions[14]
Jem and the Holograms 1986 based on Hasbro toyline of same name co-produced with Marvel Productions[15]
Inhumanoids 1986 based on Hasbro toyline of same name co-produced with Marvel Productions[16]
My Little Pony 'n Friends 1986 Syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name with Marvel Productions;[14] first half of the show was My Little Pony while the second half was a wheel series[17]
Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars[18] 1991–1992 Syndication co-production with Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, Continuity Comics, IDDH, and Marvel Productions

Original specials[edit]

Airdate Title Network Notes
October 25, 1983 The Charmkins syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name
April 14, 1984 My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name
March 23, 1985 My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina syndication based on Hasbro toyline of same name

Hasbro properties

Note: All programs based on Hasbro properties are co-productions with Marvel Productions. These programs are owned by Allspark Animation.

Theatrical films[edit]

Airdate Title Notes
June 20, 1986 My Little Pony: The Movie with Marvel Productions[14]
August 8, 1986 The Transformers: The Movie with Marvel Productions[14]
1986 Inhumanoids: The Movie DTV with Marvel Productions[14]
April 20, 1987 G.I. Joe: The Movie DTV with Marvel Productions[14]

TV Specials[edit]


  1. ^ "Sony Wonder gets animated". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  2. ^ Meaux, Francoise (2000-10-03). "MIPCOM: TV-Loonland acquires Sony Wonder | News | Screen". Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  3. ^ Variety Staff (2000-10-03). "TV Loonland buys up Sony Wonder units". Variety. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  4. ^ "Transformers DVD news: Report Says Studio with "Transformers" License is Shutting Down -". Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  5. ^ Variety Staff (2007-06-20). "SPHE absorbs Wonder label". Variety. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  6. ^ "Sony Home Ent. Takes Over Sony Wonder | Animation World Network". 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  7. ^ "Hasbro Reacquires Sunbow Cartoons". May 15, 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  8. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. (2007-03-13). "Kids label Sony Wonder going under: sources". Reuters. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  9. ^ Arnold, Thomas K. (2007-03-14). "Sony ceases Wonder label". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  10. ^ Ryan Ball (2007-03-15). "Sony Wonder Closing Shop?". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  11. ^ Scott Roxborough, AP. "TV Loonland files for bankruptcy protection". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Gelman, Morrie (September 17, 1986). "Sunbow Takes To Marvel Like Duck To Water In Animation". Variety. Cahners Business Information. p. 81. Archived from the original (jpeg) on February 14, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Swenson, John (December 22, 1987). "Cartoon Character Puts Singer Into Spotlight". Sun Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. United Press International. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Webber, Tim (December 10, 2016). "15 Cartoon Superheroes Who Jumped To Comic Books". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Imbesi, Pete (May 5, 2017). "15 CLASSIC Cartoons Marvel SECRETLY Produced". Comic Book Rescoures. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Reddish, David (September 1, 2016). "15 Animated Superhero TV Shows You Completely Forgot About". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 24, 2017.

External links[edit]