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Big Idea Entertainment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC
TypeIn-name-only unit of Universal Pictures
FoundedFebruary 1989; 33 years ago (1989-02) (GRAFx Studios)
August 6, 1993; 29 years ago (1993-08-06) (Big Idea)
ProductsAnimated direct-to-video programs
Animated television series
Animated theatrical films
OwnerIndependent (1989–2003)
Classic Media (2003-2012)
DreamWorks Classics (2012-present)
NBCUniversal (2016-present)
ParentIndependent (1989–2003)
Classic Media (2003-2007)
Entertainment Rights (2007-2009)
Boomerang Media (2009-2012)
DreamWorks Animation (2012-present)
Comcast (2016-present)

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC (formerly known as Big Idea Productions, Inc. and Big Idea, Inc.; also simply as Big Idea) is an American Christian animation production company, best known for its computer-animated VeggieTales series of Christian-themed home videos.

Founded in February 1989 as GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer, the company was renamed as Big Idea Productions in August 1993 and it released its first direct-to-video VeggieTales program in December. In 2002, Big Idea adapted the Biblical story of Jonah for its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, which was co-produced with FHE Pictures. Its second theatrical film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, was co-produced with Starz Animation and released in 2008.

From 1999 to 2004, headquarters of Big Idea Entertainment was in Lombard, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago.[1] After Big Idea Entertainment declared bankruptcy in 2003 and the company was sold to Classic Media, headquarters was moved in 2004 to Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb outside of Nashville.[2] In 2012, DreamWorks Animation purchased Classic Media.[3] In 2013, DreamWorks began to oversee productions of Big Idea Entertainment and launched the Netflix series VeggieTales in the House. After production of VeggieTales in the House's sequel series entitled VeggieTales in the City wrapped in 2017, DreamWorks sold the Franklin headquarters to Kingdom Story Company.[4] Big Idea continues to operate as an in-name-only unit of Universal Pictures for future projects and social media in relation to the VeggieTales franchise.[5][non-primary source needed] Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, characters from VeggieTales, serve as the company's mascots.


Big Idea was founded in February 1989 under the name GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer to create graphics in television commercials.[6] In 1991, Vischer created a 12-second short film called Mr. Cuke's Screen Test. This short inspired him and Mike Nawrocki to create VeggieTales, with Nawrocki coming up with the name. Vischer thought the name "GRAFx" no longer suited a company about to create children's videos, so he renamed it as Big Idea Productions, Inc. on August 6, 1993.[6] The company released its first video, Where's God When I'm S-Scared? in December of the same year.

Rapidly running out of office space, Big Idea relocated to the Chicago suburbs in 1997 with the purchase of the DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois.[7] However, renovation delays, unforeseen building conditions, and lengthy zoning battles resulted. In the interim, the company was guided by Lombard City officials to rent space at the Yorktown Center, a local mall.

In a co-production with FHE Pictures, Big Idea released its first theatrical feature film, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie on October 4, 2002.

On September 2, 2003, Big Idea declared bankruptcy after encountering management and financial issues and a lawsuit by HIT Entertainment in 2001. By the end of the year, it was auctioned off to Classic Media for $19.3 million.[8][9][10] After its purchase, the company relocated to Nashville in 2004.

Big Idea partnered with Toronto-based Starz Animation to produce its second theatrical feature film, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, which was released on January 11, 2008 by Universal Pictures.[11]

In April 2009, Entertainment Rights fell into voluntary administration and sold its UK- and US-based subsidiaries, including Big Idea and its parent company, Classic Media, to Boomerang Media.[12] As of 2011 Big Idea, Inc. has been repackaged officially as Big Idea Entertainment, LLC. In July 2012, Big Idea's parent company, Classic Media, was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed DreamWorks Classics.

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced that it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[13] The sale was completed on August 22, 2016.[14][15]

On July 3, 2018, Vischer confirmed that Big Idea's offices in Franklin were shut down. While marketing employees continued to work for Big Idea during this time, DreamWorks sold the Franklin, Tennessee studio in late 2017.[16]

In 2018, NBCUniversal licensed the properties of the studio to The Trinity Broadcasting Network. They launched the production of a new series entitled The VeggieTales Show in 2019 through a collaboration between NBCUniversal and Trilogy Animation Group. Vischer confirmed on Twitter that he and Nawrocki were both returning to work as head writers for the new series.[17][non-primary source needed]

VeggieTales history

VeggieTales is a series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables and conveying moral themes based on Christianity, spliced with joking references to pop culture and current events. VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provide many of the voices. VeggieTales has also been released as books, games, and many other branded items such as toys and clothing. Additionally, the series has been adapted for television broadcast on Qubo (where it aired from September 9, 2006, to September 5, 2009)[18] and on Netflix where DreamWorks Animation Television produced two series, VeggieTales in the House[19] (which ran from November 26, 2014 to September 23, 2016) and VeggieTales in the City (which ran from February 24 to September 15, 2017).


Direct-to-video/television series

Title Creator(s)/
Premiere Finale Network Note(s)
VeggieTales Phil Vischer
Mike Nawrocki
December 21, 1993 March 3, 2015 Direct-to-video
3-2-1 Penguins! Jeff Parker
Nathan Carlson
Phil Lollar
Mike Nawrocki
Phil Vischer
Ron Smith
November 14, 2000 November 13, 2008 Direct-to-video
Season 1 originally released in direct-to-video
Seasons 2–3 broadcast on Qubo
Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures Tom Bancroft March 16, 2002 June 10, 2003 Direct-to-video First spin-off of VeggieTales
Only 2D-animated series by Big Idea Entertainment
VeggieTales in the House Doug TenNapel November 26, 2014 September 23, 2016 Netflix Second spin-off of VeggieTales
VeggieTales in the City February 24, 2017 September 15, 2017 Third spin-off of VeggieTales
Sequel to VeggieTales in the House
The VeggieTales Show Phil Vischer
Mike Nawrocki
October 15, 2019 April 1, 2022 TBN Revival and sequel to the 1993 original series VeggieTales

Television specials

# Title Release date Network
1 VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular! December 19, 1998 PAX
2 VeggieTales: The Star of Christmas November 24, 2002 PBS

Feature films

# Title Release date Co-production with Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie October 4, 2002 FHE Pictures $14 million $25.6 million 65% 58
2 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie January 11, 2008 Universal Pictures
Starz Animation
$15 million $13.2 million 43% 49


  1. ^ "The Lombard HQ Project with Pictures - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. November 15, 2004. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "A bunch of pictures from Big Idea's move to Franklin, Tennessee. - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. July 19, 2004. Archived from the original on September 27, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "It's Official: DreamWorks Animation Buys Classic Media for $155 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 25, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ The Babylon Bee (May 1, 2020). "Cucumber For Christ: The Mike Nawrocki Interview". YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Big Idea isn't open… Universal just gave TBN a license to make some new episodes. I helped with some writing, but those are all done now. Not sure if any more sill ever get made."". Twitter. Archived from the original on August 27, 2021. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Vischer, Phil (2008). Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 978-1-5955-5122-1. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "Big Idea Productions, Inc. -- Company History". Funding Universe. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  8. ^ "What Happened to Big Idea? (Part 10) - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. January 24, 2005. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  9. ^ Hertz, Todd. "Big Idea Loses Suit". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  10. ^ Warren, Hillary (2005). There's Never Been a Show Like Veggie Tales: Sacred Messages in a Secular Market. Lanham, MD: AltMira Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-759105690. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Hetherington, Janet (January 11, 2008). "Seriously Silly: 'The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "Boomerang buys Big Idea". April 6, 2009. Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  13. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 29, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  14. ^ "Comcast Completes Its $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Deadline. Archived from the original on August 23, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal completes purchase of DreamWorks Animation". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 23, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  16. ^ YouTube (May 1, 2020). "Cucumber For Christ: The Mike Nawrocki Interview". YouTube. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Correction - TBN is licensing VT from Universal... they didn't buy it. Bob and Larry still live with Shrek and Donkey and Minions. BUT... TBN is producing new eps and Mike and I are writing!"". Twitter. Archived from the original on April 9, 2019. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (September 23, 2006). "NBC Issues New Explanation for VeggieTales Cuts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  19. ^ Brian, Matt (March 13, 2014). "Netflix's three new originals include 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar' spin-offs". Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 August 2022, at 18:52
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