Los Angeles, California, |
New York City, New York, United States
|Products||television series, special, television commercials, licensed merchandise|
|Divisions||animation, Kidrobot collectables, Ghostbot|
WildBrain (stylized as W!LDBRAIN) is an American entertainment company that develops and produces television programming, motion pictures, commercial content and licensed merchandise. Established in 1995 and acquired by Canadian media company DHX Media in 2010, it maintains offices in Los Angeles and New York City.
Film productions include the Annie Award-winning CGI short Hubert's Brain, while television work includes Nick Jr. series Yo Gabba Gabba!, and highly rated Disney Channel series Higglytown Heroes. WildBrain also produced earlier animated shorts and television specials of Monster High for Mattel.
They have produced national commercials for clients like Esurance, Chiclets, Target, Nike, Honda, Kraft, the Wall Street Journal and Lamisil, (featuring Digger the Dermatophyte). Their ad work has won Clio Awards, Addy Awards, BDA Awards, and Annie Awards.
A subsidiary, Kidrobot, creates limited edition toys, clothing, artwork, and books. It has stores in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.
Today, WildBrain functions as the manager for DHX Media's intellectual properties on YouTube. WildBrain continue to produce shows, including reboots of Rosie & Jim and Brum, as well as making original content, including toy reviews and surprise egg openings, all for YouTube.
In October 1994, John Hays, Phil Robinson, and Jeff Fino started "WildBrain animation studio" in San Francisco's Castro district. The new company bootstrapped with contract work from local game companies such as Broderbund, LucasArts, and Living Books. In 1996 WildBrain moved to a 17,000 square foot warehouse at the corner of 18th and York St. in the Mission District spearheading the growth of what came to be known in San Francisco as "Multimedia Gulch".
Over the next few years, WildBrain's staff ballooned from a staff of about 20 to about 250. It struck deals with Yahoo! and the Cartoon Network to produce animated shorts for the Web. It launched WildBrain.com, creating animated web shorts such as Groove Monkey, Mantalope, and numerous web series including Joe Paradise, Glue, Graveyard, and Space Is Dum.
After legendary studio Colossal Pictures closed down in 1999, WildBrain expanded further, providing employment for former Colossal directors and staff. Around this period they produced the series Higglytown Heroes and Poochini.
In 2004, Charles Rivkin, former CEO of The Jim Henson Company, joined WildBrain as president and CEO. Rivkin oversaw the creation and development of the "Yo Gabba Gabba" series for Nick Jr.
In 2007, former founder Jeff Fino left to start Nuvana, an educational web-based company with former Colossal Pictures Producer, Joe Kwong.
In 2008, Rivkin left WildBrain after newly elected President Obama appointed him US Ambassador to France and Monaco. Michael Polis, the marketing director of WildBrain, then became the new CEO.
Around this time John Hays left WildBrain to work on indie features ("La Mission" and "Howl," which opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival).
By 2009, the original founders of the company had all left WildBrain, and the company moved to Los Angeles. It had been an independent company until DHX Media purchased WildBrain in 2010.
The same year, Phil Robinson, and Amy Capen, exec producer of WildBrain's San Francisco studio started an independent company called Special Agent Productions.
WildBrain's first venture into television was 13 I Am Weasel shorts for the Hanna-Barbera-produced Cartoon Network series Cow and Chicken, in 1997. I Am Weasel later spun off to become a separate show. In 2000, WildBrain launched Mr. Baby and Poochini's Yard; the second series aired globally, but did not appear in the United States until 2002, airing as Poochini. WildBrain produced two animated series for Disney Channel's preschool-friendly programming block Disney Junior (formerly Playhouse Disney), Higgytown Heroes and Sheriff Callie's Wild West, along with The Aquabats! Super Show! for Hub Network. The studio has also done commercials and promos for companies like MTV, Noggin, Locomotion, Coca-Cola and Cartoon Network.
- Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (storyboards; 1995–2000)
- Freakazoid! (pre-production; 1995–1997)
- KaBlam! ("The Brothers Tiki" shorts; 1997)
- I Am Weasel (1997–2000)
- O Canada (opening title & bumpers; 1997)
- Todd McFarlane's Spawn (1998)
- Space is Dum (1999–2001)
- Poochini's Yard (2000–2002)
- The Chuck Jones Show (opening title; 2001)
- Higglytown Heroes (2004–2008)
- Yo Gabba Gabba! (2007–2015)
- Team Smithereen (2009–2011)
- The Ricky Gervais Show (2010–2012)
- The Hard Times of RJ Berger (2010–2011)
- Monster High (2010)
- Octonauts (2010)
- The Aquabats! Super Show! (2012–2014)
- Bubble Guppies (first season only) (2011–present)
- SheZow (2012)
- Sheriff Callie's Wild West (first season only) (2014–present)
- Brum (2016—present) (YouTube only)
- FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue (1998)
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000) Animated sequences
- Untitled Kidrobot film (TBA)
- The Powerpuff Girls Movie (2002) Animation Production
- Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011)
- Cartoon Network
- Parfums de Coeur
- Out In Space (1997)
- Humanstein (1998)
- A Dog Cartoon (1998)
- El Kabong Rides Again (2000)
- Hubert's Brain (2001)
- Erin Esurance in "Carbon Copy (2007)
- Green Eggs and Ham (1996)
WildBrain Consumer Products
YO GABBA GABBA! apparel, accessories, books, electronics, games, home décor and toys are available at retail through top licensees, including Kidrobot, Spin Master, Ltd., Simon & Schuster, Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment, Nickelodeon/Sony BMG and others.
Kidrobot (WildBrain subsidiary) was the first to hit shelves with apparel and collectible merchandise.
The studio was one of the pioneers of web-based flash animation series, which were offered to the public from their website in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The studio was also the animation provider of Happy Tree Friends Season 1-2.
- Michael Polis
- Marge Dean
- David Graber
- Bob Higgins
- George Evelyn
- Paul Fierlinger
- Christian Jacobs
- Denis Morella
- Scott Schultz
- Phil Robinson
- John Hays
- Ed Bell
- Robin Steele
- Dave Marshall
- Official website
- Animation Insider Article
- SF Weekly "The Little Animation Company That Could" by Ryan Blitstein