Chris Columbus Partners in ZAG Animation Studios

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Looks like DreamWorks Animation and Pixar have some new competition on their hands, as a joint venture has been announced between Chris Columbus (director of the first two “Harry Potter” and “Home Alone” films) along with his 1492 Pictures producing partner Michael Barnathan (The Help), Haim Saban (Chairman and CEO of Saban Capital Group and Founder of Saban Brands) and Jeremy Zag (Founder of ZAG Entertainment LLC/Zagtoons), to form ZAG Animation Studios.

This new family-oriented studio will develop, produce and distribute one 3D animated film and one CGI-live action hybrid film per year, starting in 2017. They will operate out of ZAG Entertainment’s brand new campus in Glendale, California, with their first full computer animated feature Melody to be co-directed by Columbus and Zag. Two other features in development include Ghostforce, a CGI-live action hybrid, and the fully-CGI Abominable.

“After all of these years, it’s fantastic to start a new venture that brings together talented artists from around the world under Jeremy’s excellent leadership and Haim’s brilliant international business experience,” said Columbus, who is currently finishing up the Adam Sandler vehicle Pixels for a July 2015 release.

“This is an incredible moment for our business as we partner to create a world-class animation studio that will produce extraordinary feature films,” Saban stated. “ZAG Animation Studios will deliver creative and compelling family entertainment for generations to come.”

Saban is best known for producing American adaptations of Japanese series such as “Power Rangers” and “Big Bad Beetleborgs,” as well as being a majority owner of Univision. The 29-year-old Zag founded the French kids animation company Zagtoon in 2009, helping to create the shows “Kobushi” and “Ladybug.”

“I am so honored and excited to collaborate with these amazing entertainment legends that influenced my childhood with their incredible works,” said Jeremy Zag. “This powerful venture, with an unprecedented dream team, will inevitably set the stage for a powerful new player with a world-view perspective in the family entertainment arena.”

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)