Dolphin pics flow to Nick en route to Sony DVD


Continuing its quest for content, the Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has acquired worldwide DVD rights to six live-action feature films produced by Dolphin Entertainment, with an option to extend the deal to more films.

The films will be released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment after they premiere on Nickelodeon. The deal establishes Sony's relationship with Nickelodeon and moves the studio further into the family entertainment arena.

"The family entertainment market is a huge growth area for our entire industry, and this deal reinforces our commitment to this lucrative category," said Lexine Wong, senior executive vp at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The first two films in the deal are superhero spoof "Shredderman Rules!" starring Devon Werkheiser and Tim Meadows, and "The Last Day of Summer," with Jansen Panettiere and Eli Vargas. Both will be released on DVD Aug. 28. "Shredderman" aired June 9 on Nickelodeon, and "Summer" will air July 20.

Also part of the deal are the first two installments in the Roxy Hunter franchise. "Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost," starring Aria Wallace, will premiere on Nickelodeon this fall and arrive on DVD soon afterward. "Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman" will be released on DVD in early 2008.

Peter Schlessel, president of the Sony acquisitions group, praised Dolphin's "reputation as producers of quality product for the preteen audience." He said he anticipates "Dolphin playing a critical role in Sony's strategic product mix for the family market."

Dolphin, founded in 1996 by Bill O'Dowd, specializes in children's and young-adult live-action programming.

"Shredderman" is about shy middle-school student Nolan Byrd (Werkheiser), who uses a computer and a hidden camera to get even with the school bully, Bubba Bixby (Daniel Roebuck) -- as well as the bully's father, a greedy waste-disposal tycoon.

"Summer" focuses on three best friends enjoying the last day of summer, camping out and preparing for a show by their band at the town fair. When one of the three, Luke (Panettiere), wishes the day would never end, his wish comes true, and he and his pals relive the highs and lows of the day again and again, from running into his secret crush to standing up to the school tough guy.

O'Dowd said Schlessel and his team "expressed very clearly their desire for these movies, and we are confident that their unmatched marketing and distribution talents will bring our films to the widest possible audience."

The Sony acquisitions group's Michael Helfand, vp business affairs, and Lia Buman, director of worldwide acquisitions, negotiated the deal on Sony's behalf.