Industry Vets Form Movie Studio

A team of movie industry executives led by former licensing vet Al Ovadia has opened a new studio, LABS (Los Angeles-Beijing Studios). 

April 6, 2018

Industry Vets Form Movie Studio

A team of movie industry executives led by former licensing vet Al Ovadia has opened a new studio, LABS (Los Angeles-Beijing Studios).

With its headquarters in Los Angeles, Calif., and offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, LABS has set its sights on full integration of the two biggest film markets in the world–China and North America.

Assisting chief executive officer Ovadia with the launch of LABS is co-founder and chief operating officer Steve Chicorel; Greg Manwaring, head of Funtoons Animation; Steven J. Peña, general counsel and head of business and legal affairs; and Sriram Das, head of development, finance and production.

LABS has forged a strategic joint venture with Hotland Film worth more than $300 million for the studio’s initial China-U.S. co-production funding. 

“LABS is different from other U.S. movie companies we’ve reviewed,” says Zhang Hong Wei, board chairman, Hotland. “At first LABS’ well-developed slate of intellectual property caught our attention and then we took some

time to learn more about their management’s straightforward Golden Triangle strategy for China and the rest of the world: coproduction, franchisability, merchandising, which clinched our interest to invest.”

“We believe that the LABS model of integrating merchandising and licensing beginning as early as the script stage will impact U.S.–China co-productions artistically and financially,” says Ovadia. “This high level of complex engagement and early commitment, bonding story and consumer products doesn’t currently exist in the Chinese film industry, and is a rarity in Hollywood. LABS’ competitive advantage is in our proven ability to develop blockbuster projects that also qualify as co-productions in China. Ultimately as we sync with the China government, we hope to help inspire movie fans internationally to enjoy and pursue other Chinese content films.”

Ovadia once head the licensing department at Twentieth Century Fox, overseeing global licensing, operations, product placement, branding and promotions, in addition to helming the interactive division. Ovadia also held positions at Sony Pictures, where he was executive vice president of consumer products, which included managing the

Spider-Man

franchise and other blockbuster hits.

LABS has assembled over 100 intellectual properties in its development pipeline, led by Das. With nearly 20 completed screenplays in the works, the new studio is actively engaged with the China government to clear its slate.

“The first phase of our production plan includes sci-fi, fantasy, animation, action-adventure and star studded thrillers,” says Das. “What’s more, I’m excited to help make these genres augment our Golden Triangle strategy with Ovadia at the helm.” 

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