Legendary Entertainment, officially Legend Pictures, LLC (also referred to as as Legendary Pictures or just Legendary onscreen) is an American media company based in Burbank, California. The company was founded by Thomas Tull in 2000 and in 2005, concluded an agreement to co-produce and co-finance films with Warner Bros. In 2014, Legendary began a similar arrangement with Universal Studios. Since 2016, Legendary has been owned by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group.
In July 2013, Legendary reached an agreement with Universal Studios where it will market, co-finance, and distribute Legendary's films for five years starting in 2014, the year that Legendary's similar agreement with Warner Bros. expires. In October 2014, SoftBank bought $250 million-worth of shares, which amounts to a 10% stake, in Legendary. The transaction increased the company's total value to around $3 billion.
On January 11, 2016, ChineseconglomerateWanda Group announced that it concluded an agreement with shareholders to acquired Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion, making it the largest acquisition of an America film production company by a Chinese firm.
In 2009, the company announced the establishment of a digital division, to be headed by Kathy Vrabeck, that would primarily focus on game development, a move which surprised many industry analysts because of the film industry's previous disengagement with the video game industry. The goal of the division was reoriented in 2012 with the acquisition of Nerdist Industries, LLC, a pop culture blog with a synonymous podcast. Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick announced that he and his partner Peter Levin (founder of GeekChicDaily) would still have complete editorial autonomy and that they would become the new presidents of the digital division, with Levin heading digital strategy and the digital content. In 2014, Legendary acquired both Geek & Sundry, Inc., a YouTube channel and production company, and the website Smart Girls at the Party.
In 2010, the company announced the launch of a comic book division called Legendary Comics, LLC under the direction of editor-in-chief Bob Schreck. The first graphic novel published by the company was Holy Terror by Frank Miller, which was released in 2011.
In 2011, the company announced the creation of Legendary Television, LLC to focus on developing television productions. The division was headed by Jeremy Elice and a co-financing contract with Warner Bros. Television was signed. However, in 2012, Legendary decided to postpone its expansion into television and put the division on hold while restructuring; the contract with Warner Bros. was terminated and Elice left the company.
In 2013, Legendary purchased film marketing agency Five33 Ltd. The company, which in the past has worked on marketing campaigns for various studios, will now work exclusively on marketing Legendary's films. Also in 2013, Legendary invested in hiring former head of Warner Bros. Television, Bruce Rosenblum, to head Legendary's television and digital media operations. In December 2013, Legendary acquired television production company Asylum Entertainment, best known for producing sports programming and reality and scripted television series such as Beyond the Glory and The Kennedys.
In 2011, the company announced the formation of Legendary East Ltd., a joint venture film production company based in Hong Kong. The purpose of the company is to co-produce films with Chinese companies to bypass Chinese quotas on foreign film releases in the country.
Under an initial agreement with Chinese film distributorHuayi Brothers International, half of the company was to be owned by the shell corporation Paul Y. Engineering Group, 40% was to be owned by Legendary Entertainment (through holding companies such as Legendary Asian Pacific, LLC or Legendary East Holdings, LLC), and 10% was be owned by the Huayi Brothers International. Legendary East initially hoped to produce one to two globally marketed English-language films per year and finance a quarter of the production of an additional two films per year. The company hoped to raise US$220.5 million through the sale of stock of Paul Y. Engineering Group on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by the end of 2011. However, because financing did not meet the targeted goal, Legendary East scrapped the deal with Huayi Brothers International and continued its efforts to secure financing in 2012.
In 2013, Legendary East announced a new agreement with China Film Co., Ltd. Under the new agreement, the two companies will co-produce multiple films over a three-year period.
Legendary Entertainment has produced 43 feature films. In addition, the company is also in the process of producing an additional five films and is developing various other projects. Of the 43 feature films produced, 41 have had theatrical releases, one has had a direct-to-video release, and one has had a video on demand release. Note that in most cases the distributor or distributors also co-produced the film. In all cases, the film listed is a work of Legendary Pictures, unless the film's name is followed by a subscript "E", indicating that Legendary East is the production company or a subscript "D", indicating that Legendary Digital Media is the production company. The box office column reflects the worldwide gross for the theatrical release of the film in United States dollars, not adjusted for inflation.