Walden Media Entering ‘New Phase’

Walden Media

Walden Media

According to the Chicago Tribune, Walden Media (the company behind the Narnia films) is moving into a new phase by not only starting a book publishing arm but exploring a potential joint venture or partnership with studios. “Under the still-developing concept, Walden would become a branded company that would distribute virtually all its film products — all family friendly — through a particular studio.”

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There have been some disappointments (“Around the World in 80 Days”) but the outstanding success has been “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” based on the book by C.S. Lewis. It has earned at least $730 million in both domestic and international release and even more in DVD sales.

Walden and partner Walt Disney Co. targeted a general audience but also spent some time and money courting church groups and religious organizations. Many believe Lewis’ Narnia series includes Christian allusions.

[Cary] Granat said it’s difficult to say how much of “Narnia’s” financial success can be credited to faith-based marketing because the books already had a following among religious groups.

He said about 5 percent to 6 percent of the marketing budget was earmarked for Christian groups and an additional 5 percent to 6 percent was put into the educational outreach programs.

The success of movies such as “Narnia” and Twentieth-Century Fox’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” encourages others to try the family film genre, said Harold Vogel of Vogel Capital Management, a New York-based investment firm. “It’s like anything else, it has to be done well, it has to tickle the audience.”

Walden already has started work on a sequel called “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” which is based on the third book in the C.S. Lewis series. It’s scheduled to be in theaters by the end of 2007.

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