Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and the rest of the folks who run Imagine Entertainment have no shortage of creative ideas, ambition and resources.
But last year, after the company secured an equity investment of up to $100 million from Raine Group, Grazer and Howard realized they still needed a CEO-type to help them turn all of their activity into lasting businesses.
Enter Charlie Corwin. The former co-chairman of Endemol Shine North America formally joined the company last month as CEO, reporting to Grazer and Howard. His mandate is help the company harness the capital from Raine to expand Imagine’s reach in multiplatform content and distribution.
“Part of my mission is to expand the shapes and sizes of the content that Imagine develops and produces,” Corwin said. “It’s hard to think of a better platform than Imagine — headed by two guys at the top who have impeccable taste and incredible relationships who are enthusiastically pushing all of their chips into the middle to play a new hand.”
Corwin pointed to Imagine’s success last year with the Beatles documentary “Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years,” directed by Howard. Imagine will now build on that momentum to create a full-fledged documentary production unit. Other areas of focus are unscripted series, short-form digital content, VR and branded entertainment.
Corwin was recruited for the job based on his track record as an indie producer — he founded film and TV production company Original Media in the late 1990s — and as the co-head of the Endemol Shine joint venture of 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management.
Grazer said it was Corwin’s mix of business and creative savvy that made him right for the job.
“I like that he is an entrepreneur,” Grazer said. “He has a business and creative vocabulary, and he’s facile in both.”
Howard said Imagine is focused on growing in its core business of film and TV as well as in new arenas.
“We’re entering a phase of expansion, building on the brand we’ve established over more than 30 years,” Howard said. “It’s not just about making more movies and television shows. We need the kind of energy and support that Charlie brings to take us into new businesses. We’ve done a lot of different things in the past but we’ve been strictly opportunistic about it. With the Raine investment, now is the time to follow through and make growth a priority for Imagine.”