×

Sega Taps Evan Cholfin to Adapt its Videogames for Films, TV, Digital Platforms (EXCLUSIVE)

As Sega looks to turn more of its videogames into other forms of entertainment, it has hired former Break Media executive Evan Cholfin to lead those efforts.

Cholfin now serves as head of development and production at Tokyo-based Stories International, a joint venture of Japanese gamemaker Sega and Hakuhodo DY Group (the world’s seventh-largest advertising agency) that was launched to produce films, TV shows and entertainment for digital platforms in 2011.

Of the vast library of titles that Stories has the rights to adapt, it’s moving forward with “Altered Beast,” “Streets of Rage,” “Shinobi,” “Rise of Nightmares” and “Crazy Taxi” first as English-language live action and animated spinoffs. “Virtua Fighter” and “Golden Axe” also are part of the portfolio of properties.

Cholfin, who will work closely with Stories president and CEO Tomoya Suzuki, based in Culver City, Calif., also will serve as Stories’ U.S.-based commercial and branded entertainment arm, connecting directors with Hakuhodo DY Group’s brand clients to create content for Asia and other markets.

At Break Media, Cholfin was director of entertainment development, where he produced and oversaw film, TV and digital content, including thriller “Higher Power,” produced with Lorenzo di Bonaventura. He also produced commercials and branded content for marketers while at the company.

Break Media merged with Alloy Digital in 2013 to form Defy Media and produce content targeting 12- to 34-year-olds.

Cholfin’s resume also includes having worked in development for Steven Zaillian, David Fincher and CAA.

In addition to expanding Stories with Cholfin’s hire, Sega also has completed a minority investment in All Nippon Entertainment Works through a stock deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal with ANEW, run by Sanford Climan, is expected to help Stories bolster its entertainment efforts in Hollywood by gaining access to 20 Japanese rights holders who own films, TV shows, books, toys and manga titles.

The move into filmmaking is seen as a way for Stories to build an inhouse commercial and literary management division, with a venture modeled after the likes of Anonymous Content and RSA Films, Suzuki said.

“With his impeccable taste and experience developing and producing entertainment in nearly every format imaginable, Evan is the unique executive to revitalize and canonize our partners’ brands by working with Hollywood to create stories that will last for centuries,” Suzuki said.

Sega isn’t alone in wanting to take creative control of how its games are adapted for other platforms.

After seeing mostly failed results as its games have been adapted for the bigscreen, Electronic Arts developed “Need for Speed” through its own film division, while Ubisoft has its own inhouse arm adapting tentpole titles like “Assassin’s Creed,” “Splinter Cell” and “Watch Dogs” into movies.

More Digital

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content