AMMAN -- Hollywood powerhouse Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. entered into a joint production and financing venture with a local animation company on Sunday.
The deal, signed at a gathering at the Royal Automobile Museum yesterday, represents MGM's first foray into the Middle Eastern market, and is the first agreement of its kind between any major American studio and an Arab company, according to Travis Rutherford, executive vice president of MGM.
The agreement will target three main areas -- content creation, licensing and merchandising, and the development of what is known as "location-based entertainment," which includes theme parks, casinos and housing developments.
Under the agreement, Rubicon, an Amman-based company that has specialised mainly in children's programming, will begin co-producing "Pink Panther & Pals," a new cartoon based on the iconic MGM character, in July.
It is the feline's first incarnation in 26 years, and George Wade, senior vice president of location-based entertainment for MGM, called it a "natural choice" for the studio's first entry into the Middle Eastern market.
"There's a specific need in this region for children's entertainment," he said.
Rutherford praised the Kingdom for taking "a leadership role in the region."
Executives at MGM and Rubicon would not disclose the value of the deal, citing confidentiality concerns, but Rutherford called it "a very significant amount of money."
Ayoubi (Rubicon CEO) considered the deal a major step towards achieving her company's vision, which is to rival studios like Disney's Pixar, within the next 10 years."It puts us on the map," she said. "Hollywood is a very tough place to break into. So we're very excited."
Edited from the article of Jennifer Blecher published on the Jordan Times