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As part of a push to expand the Cirque du Soleil global footprint via third-party IP offerings, Eric Grilly has been appointed executive head of studio alliances.
In the new role, announced Wednesday by Cirque du Soleil president and COO Jonathan Tetrault, Grilly will work to develop business opportunities with Hollywood studios, IP providers and other strategic license owners to bring their content to the live entertainment stage.
The position builds on Grilly’s current role as CEO of VStar Entertainment Group, which was acquired by Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in 2018; it comes on the heels of Grilly’s partnerships with Nickelodeon and NBC Universal to produce original touring shows.
To date, PAW Patrol Live! has sold 3 million tickets worldwide and is currently on a 30-city tour of China. Other projects announced include Nick Jr. Live!, the first production in a five-year exclusive content agreement; and Trolls LIVE!, based on the 2016 DreamWorks Animation release.
“Eric’s intimate knowledge of third-party partnerships, his industry relationships and his expertise in live entertainment will provide immense value as Cirque du Soleil Live Entertainment Group solidifies itself as the world’s largest creator and producer of live entertainment content,” said Tetrault in a statement.
“Cirque is a leader in the live entertainment space, known throughout the world for producing best-in-class theatrical productions,” added Grilly. “I am honored to serve in this expanded capacity and seek out a new set of creative opportunities for development.”
The Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil currently has 20 productions playing worldwide. The company has frequently dipped into pop culture for inspiration, building shows around the music catalogs of The Beatles and Michael Jackson, as well as drawing on the sci-fi world of James Cameron’s Avatar for the touring arena spectacle Toruk — The First Flight.
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