×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ben Stassen’s nWave Acquired by Production Group MZM (EXCLUSIVE)

Matthieu Zeller’s production group MZM has acquired a majority stake in nWave Studios, the thriving Brussels-based company behind Ben Stassen’s “The Son of Bigfoot” and “Sammy,” among other European animated hits.

MZM was founded in 2016 by Zeller, a former Studiocanal executive, with the aim to produce and co-produce French and international films and TV series. MZM, which regroups the production banners Octopolis and Bamboo Film, has joined with Belgium’s leading distribution company, Belga Films, as well as its tax-shelter arm, Belga Films Fund Holding, and regional fund Wallimage Entreprises to form a new entity, Next Wave, to complete the acquisition of nWave.

Since launching MZM, Zeller has added two new partners: Olivier Sulpice and, most recently, Matthieu Gondinet, who just joined after working at Canal Plus for 15 years. Zeller and Gondinet had collaborated with nWave and its teams over the past years when nWave was partly owned by Studiocanal.

Sulpice is the founder of Bamboo, a 20-year-old French publishing house of comic books and graphic novels with labels such as Bamboo, Grand Angle, Doki Doki, Fluide Glacial and Drakoo. Bamboo recently started doing TV, notably the animation series “Les Sisters,” which aired on commercial network M6.

nWave Studios, which was created in 1994 by Stassen, Caroline van Iseghem and Eric Dillens, has become a pioneer of 3D animation in Europe and a leading purveyor of ambitious European animated features for independent distributors. Its best-known film credits include “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures,” “The House of Magic,” “The Wild Life,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “The Son of Bigfoot.” All have been directed or co-directed by Stassen and have racked up more than $300 million at the worldwide box office. Its upcoming feature, “The Queen’s Corgi,” is being sold worldwide by Charades and will be released next spring.

“nWave, its founders and teams, are an amazing European jewel. They have become an indisputable reference in the worldwide animation market, thanks to the exceptional technical quality of their films and their capacity to produce quality content with an international potential,” said Zeller. “The nWave films are distributed successfully worldwide. With the founders and the teams already in place, and the support of our partners, our ambition is to make nWave studios and its productions a worldwide brand, a reference of excellence in family entertainment.”

Belga Films is a key film company in Belgium which co-finances and distributes the biggest European and American films, from “Pulp Fiction” to “Twilight,” “Hunger Games,” “Paddington” and “La La Land.” Belga Films has distributed several nWave films. Belga Films Fund Holding has financially backed some of them, along with Wallimage Entreprises, the Wallonian regional fund. Under the deal, nWave and Belga now have an output deal.

“We are very happy to continue the nWave adventure with historical partners of the studio, with whom we have this long experience,” nWave’s founders said. “This partnership will enable us to continue and develop the studio’s activity, to produce more and more ambitious content.”

Patrick Vandenbosch of Belga Group said the acquisition of a stake in nWave was a “strategic move aimed at supporting the development of the studio’s activities with ambition,” creating synergies with other shareholders and “capitalizing on Belga Group’s expertise in distribution, marketing, content creation and film financing.”

Jérôme de Béthune of Belga Films said: “nWave plays and will continue playing a leading role in the development and diversification of the audiovisual content, from being a pioneer in 3D content to future virtual reality.”

More Film

  • 'All About Yves" Review: Feeble French

    Cannes Film Review: 'All About Yves'

    Benoit Forgeard’s dorky “All About Yves,” bizarrely chosen as the closing film of 2019’s Directors’ Fortnight selection in Cannes, is literally about an intelligent refrigerator that ascends to Eurovision fame as a rapper. Imagine Spike Jonze’s “Her” played for the cheapest of laughs, shorn of atmosphere, and absent all melancholic insight into our relationship with [...]

  • 'The Bare Necessity' Review: Offbeat, Charming

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Bare Necessity'

    A perfectly charmant way to, as the song has it, forget about your worries and your strife for 100 airy minutes, writer-director Erwan le Duc’s “The Bare Necessity” is a breezy little sweetheart of a debut, that threatens to give the rather ominous description “quirky French romantic comedy” a good name. In its dappled countryside [...]

  • Adam

    Cannes Film Review: 'Adam'

    With her debut feature “Adam,” Maryam Touzani allows her audience to sit back and relax comfortably into a beautifully made, character-driven little gem that knows when and how to touch all the right buttons. Taking the stories of two women, both frozen in existential stasis, and bringing them together in a predictable yet deeply satisfying [...]

  • 'To Live to Sing' Review: A

    Cannes Film Review: 'To Live to Sing'

    After his taut, impressive debut “Old Stone” which tracked with nightmarish relentlessness the high cost of compassion in modern urban China, Canadian-Chinese director Johnny Ma loosens his grip a little to deliver a softer, if not necessarily less pessimistic examination of the failing fortunes of a regional Sichuan Opera troupe. “To Live to Sing” is [...]

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the

    Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the Movies Needed Every Inch of the Big Screen

    In the May 24 edition of The New York Times, there was a column by Timothy Egan, entitled “The Comeback of the Century: Why the Book Endures, Even in an Era of Disposable Digital Culture,” that celebrated those things that come between two hard covers as a larger phenomenon than mere nostalgia. The column keyed [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content