There’s a lot of buzz around classic movie scores right now – as rumors swirl that Warner Bros Discovery is close to agreeing a $500m-ish deal to sell around 50% of its treasured music catalog. Sony is reported to be the front-runner to buy.
But that’s not the only major music deal being thrashed out in Tinseltown.
Multimedia Music, the UK-headquartered company founded by industry veterans Phil Hope and James Gibb just announced its latest major acquisition.
The company has agreed a deal for a 50% stake in a catalog of music master and publishing rights from Amblin Partners, the company founded by Steven Spielberg and best known for its movie and TV production houses, Amblin Entertainment and Amblin Television.
The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, includes music rights from numerous movies, including 1917, The BFG, Bridge of Spies, Thank You For Your Service and The Girl on the Train, among many others.
The catalog includes works by some of the most prominent film and TV composers of recent decades, including John Williams, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, Mark Isha and Rob Simonsen.
The partnership between Amblin and Multimedia will also see the two companies collaborate on new initiatives to maximize revenue collection from the catalog and find new uses for the music in TV shows, commercials and trailers.
“By combining Amblin’s unrivaled creative content with our ability to maximize media music earnings, we are confident that we will together be able to build significant additional value for both our partnership and for the composers whose amazing work makes up the catalog,” Hope and Gibb said in a joint statement.
Amblin Partners was formed in 2015 as the successor to the live-action division of Dreamworks SKG, which had originally been formed by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. Led by Spielberg, the company produces movies under the Amblin Entertainment and Dreamworks banners, and TV shows under the Amblin Television banner.
Its first acquisition was the catalog of all music income and copyrights held by film composer James Newton Howard, whose work includes the scores for the Fantastic Beasts movies, the Hunger Games trilogy, The Dark Knight, Raya and the Last Dragon, Runaway Bride, Emily In Paris and Pretty Woman. The movies in that catalog have grossed more than $15 billion at the box office.
Multimedia Music went on to complete a “mid-seven-figure transaction” for the catalog of Atlantic Screen Music, which included the scores from such movies as Lone Survivor, The Host, Dredd, Escape Plan and Broken City.
In February of this year, Multimedia closed an eight-figure deal for the music master and publishing rights of the entire catalog of STX Entertainment. That gave Multimedia the rights to music from film titles such as Bad Moms, The Gentlemen and Den of Thieves, among others, and included work from composers such as Hans Zimmer, Cliff Martinez, Chris Lennertz and Clinton Shorter.
At the time, Multimedia Music said it had already deployed some $120 million on acquisitions.
“By combining Amblin’s unrivaled creative content with our ability to maximize media music earnings, we are confident that we will together be able to build significant additional value for both our partnership and for the composers whose amazing work makes up the catalog.”
Phil Hope and James Gibb, Multimedia Music
In April, the company closed another eight-figure deal, this time for the catalog and income streams of composer Trevor Morris, best known for his work on The Tudors, The Borgias, Vikings, Big Sky and the hit TV show Taken.
In addition, Multimedia Music has also acquired the rights to music by such composers as Tyler Bates (the John Wick series, Atomic Blonde), David Buckley (Jason Bourne, Papillon, The Sandman), Michael Corcoran (iCarly, Victorious), and Sean Callery (Star Trek: Generations, 24, Bones).
Multimedia Music isn’t the only company making large film and TV music rights acquisitions these days.
So far, this year has seen Cutting Edge Media Music (CEMM) form a strategic venture with Village Roadshow Entertainment Group (VREG), in a deal that covers all of the VREG’s past and future music publishing assets, soundtrack album releases and music supervision services.
CEMM also acquired a “major film music catalog” from UK-based First Score Music Ltd., which included full master and publishing rights to more than 75 “premium” films, in what sources told MBW was a high seven-figure deal.Music Business Worldwide