Banner looks to build portfolio beyond graphic novels

Radical Studios, which has film adaptations of its graphic novels set up at studios around town, has inked a distribution deal with Anderson Merchandisers as the company looks to grow its portfolio across various platforms.

Five-year deal will be key in getting Radical’s products into big-box retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club and Best Buy in the U.S., and to making them available digitally — especially as the company has launched different divisions to expand from publishing and films and into television, toys, games and music.

The pact “is a game changer for our company,” said Jesse Berger, exec VP and co-founder of Radical. He said the deal provides an incentive “to build an acquisitions business and put out product that fits specific genres that connect with our audience and retailers. It evolves our business and rounds it out to where we’re not just focused on publishing.”

In addition to producing tentpole titles like Universal’s upcoming adaptation of “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise; “Hercules,” with Dwayne Johnson, at MGM; and the Sam Raimi-helmed “Earp” at DreamWorks Pictures, among others, Radical has been wanting to produce or pick up low-budgeted fare — in the $2 million range — that it can distribute itself on homevid through Anderson. It also could use the distribution deal to launch ancillary product around those titles.

“What we’ve done as a company is build a catalog of properties that are mostly being leveraged into major tentpole films,” as well as mid-range fare, Berger said.

For its low-budget titles, Radical is keen on identifying new filmmakers early in their careers the way it backed Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”). Kosinski created the “Oblivion” book, which he is helming for the bigscreen.

“We’re not just looking at properties that could become great films only but looking for properties that have an innate transmedia quality to them and will allow us to exploit them through different channels,” Berger said.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Anderson Merchandisers is the country’s largest music wholesaler. It recently acquired the rights from Sony DADC to distrib the CDs of Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI to every U.S. wholesaler and retailer.

Radical will spotlight its first products to hit retail during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

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