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Hollywood Chases Anschutz’s Film Company

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Following the hugely successful movie, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Walden Media, the family-oriented entertainment company owned by Philip Anschutz, is a hot commodity in Hollywood, attracting offers from several studios looking to turn it into their own family-movie division.

According to Fortune, the move would cement Anschutz’s reputation as a Hollywood player, and allow him to ramp up Walden’s production schedule with the money from other investors. Anschutz Film Group CEO David Weil recently told Forbes that interest in Walden has surpassed “the casual discussion phase,” but did not specify which studios or how much a partial sale might be worth.

The Denver Business Journal reports that Anschutz’s motivation to get into the movie business was due to his displeasure at Hollywood’s preoccupation with sex, violence and vulgar language, and formed the company to make “uplifting” movies that appeal to families.

Last year, Walden Media’s “Narnia” grossed $291 million in the U.S. alone, second only to “Star Wars: Episode III.” Other films by the company have included “Holes” and “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Walden negotiated a five-picture production and distribution deal with 20th Century Fox in 2004, and co-produced “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “Bridge to Terabithia,” which will be released in 2007. The are currently developing “The Giver” and “Nim’s Island,” and have committed to making the “Biblionauts” comic book into a movie.

Studios forming partnerships has become more commonplace, as production costs have risen in the industry. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers