Dolphin Entertainment has secured more than $100 million in financing from Continental Entertainment Capital, an affiliate of Citi, for a six-pic slate targeting teens and tweens.
Continental will pony up production and P&A for the pics, and Dolphin will produce and sell them overseas, with Sony getting a first crack at domestic distribution.
Slate reps Dolphin’s first foray into the theatrical market; the shingle has had previous success with Nickelodeon skeins and made-fors, including “Zoey 101.”
Dolphin prexy Bill O’Dowd said features are “a natural expansion” from the shingle’s TV background, and he suggested the market is ripe for more tween fare in the wake of “High School Musical 3’s” boffo bow last weekend.
He said budgets will range between $7.5 million and $10 million per pic, with P&A ranging from an additional $10 million to $15 million per project.
Dolphin began negotiating the financing several months ago, before the economy headed south, and was putting the finishing touches on the deal Wednesday so it could sell international rights for the slate at AFM.
“Soul Surfer — The Bethany Hamilton Story,” the first project under the deal, tells the story of the teen surfer who lost an arm to a shark attack but continued to surf professionally. It will go into production early next year, with the next project slated to begin production by midyear.
Continental managing director Jeff Andrick said the slate “exemplifies the type of targeted audience product that we believe can succeed, even in more difficult general market conditions.”
He lauded O’Dowd’s ability to target this aud and generate ancillary revenue from it.
Besides “Zoey 101,” Dolphin has exec produced “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” and the “Roxy Hunter” franchise of mysteries. Shingle has also partnered with Nickelodeon on last month’s “Gym Teacher” and the upcoming tuner “Spectacular!,” scheduled to bow in the first quarter of next year.