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Now didn’t see this one coming! Wizard World, the convention company, has signed a deal with Sony Pictures to option and develop original IP. The move will enable Wizard to engage in a number of strategic initiatives. John D. Maatta, CEO of Wizard World, and Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships, Sony Pictures Consumer Marketing, who will oversee the relationship for the studio, made the announcement.

The Hollywood Reporter notes:

A formal process hasn’t yet been determined for accessing the immense amount of content seen at comic conventions, but it will initially start out with pitch sessions and conversations, growing from there.

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Basically, from where we sit, this seems like a pretty standard development deal at its core; however Wizard can now add “Get seen by Sony Pictures!” to its pitch for Artist Alley. Which might not be an entirely bad thing. Foe Wizard.

 “We are always looking for new ways to find that next generation of great IP,” said Jonathan Kadin, Executive Vice President of Production for Sony Pictures, who will be involved in developing the new projects. “This deal gives us unique access to the incredible talent that Wizard World can bring to the table, putting us in a prime position to find the stories that break through the clutter.”

 Maatta stated: “Sony Pictures Entertainment is uniquely aligned as a studio with dominance in the motion picture, television, and electronics spaces. As Wizard World expands into a full spectrum media company from our roots in live exhibition, the partnership with Sony Pictures allows for an exceptional array of new opportunities and initiatives across many business extensions. It also creates a new and powerful voice in the pop culture.”

 Godsick stated: “As Wizard World continues to grow its brand across the globe, we see IP development as only the first step in the relationship. We will work with Wizard World to develop opportunities across several areas, including licensing, retail and location based entertainment. There are tremendously talented artists and storytellers presenting their properties at the conventions, and this relationship with Wizard World will afford us direct and early access to what might turn out to the next great idea for a film.”

Wizard World Chairman Paul Kessler added: “Working with Sony Pictures to leverage our live events to create content and to enter into new business extensions will create an original and unique enterprise in the live event and entertainment space.”

 Wizard World board member Jordan Schur, who organized the venture by bringing Wizard World and Sony Pictures together, said, “With the alignment of Wizard World and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Wizard World takes the next step in its agenda to establish itself in the media business landscape. Transporting storytellers of tomorrow from Wizard World’s dominant film and TV driven fan convention business will be realized as Wizard World and SPE launch new content providers off the floors of Wizard World’s shows to the global screens of the world.”

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