Walden Media was founded in 2001 by Michael Flaherty and Cary Granat. Granat was president of Miramax's Dimension Films division, and Flaherty came from the world of education. Flaherty was called an “entrepreneur in education” by the Boston Globe for his work with innovative programs meant to help underprivileged students gain access to quality education. The two were housemates at Tufts University before following different paths and then reuniting to form Walden Media as a movie, television, publishing and Internet enterprise whose goal is to teach and entertain kids. The company is owned by the Christian conservative Philip Anschutz, who has said he expects their movies "to be entertaining, but also to be life affirming and to carry a moral message."
The company's notable releases include Holes in 2003, Because of Winn-Dixie for Twentieth Century Fox in 2004, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005, How to Eat Fried Worms and Charlotte's Web in 2006, Bridge to Terabithia, in 2007, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian released by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media in 2008, and their latest film: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by Fox and Walden Media in 2010. All of these films are adaptations of popular children's books.
On August 8, 2006, Walden Media announced a joint venture with 20th Century Fox called FoxWalden. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and The Dark Is Rising were the first films released under the venture. Previously announced films at other studios will remain in place.
Walden Media is unique among film production companies in that it works with teachers, museums, and national organizations to develop supplemental educational programs and materials associated with its films and the original events and/or novels that inspire the films.
Walden Media offers in-class teaching tools like educational guides and teacher kits and sponsors seminars and forums for teachers to discuss their craft and to trade ideas on using media in the classroom. Directors, writers, and stars of the productions participate in these events.
In 2006, Walden Media sponsored the "Break the World Reading Record with Charlotte’s Web". At noon on Wednesday, December 13, 547,826 readers in 2,451 locations, 50 states and 28 countries read an excerpt from Charlotte’s Web, breaking the world record of 155,528 students from 737 schools in the United Kingdom who read William Wordsworth’s poem, "Daffodils" in 2004.
After the release of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, rumors flew that Walden Media was a means for fulfilling Anschutz's Christian agenda:
We've never had a conversation about religion with him. Period, says David Weil, chief executive officer for the Anschutz Film Group. We all come from different religious backgrounds here. We all believe in a family values approach to positive messages — but religious orientation doesn't factor into it.'"In July and August 2007, Walden Media came under fire from fans of the Dark is Rising book series for liberties the company is purported to have taken with the plot in its forthcoming movie of the same title.Template:Dubious As one critic noted:
"During filming in Bucharest, Romania there was a joke on The Dark is Rising set that only three things have been changed from the original 1973 novel: the nationality of lead character Will Stanton, changed from English to American; his age changed from 11 to 13; and everything else that happens in the story. A solo quest by an 11-year-old is no longer solo; family values have been deemed out of date — the happy, loving Stanton family rewritten dysfunctional; a series of five books bereft of a single love interest has been re-imagined with the lead character chasing the fairer sex, pleading in the trailer “I can't save the world! I don't even know how to talk to a girl!” Angered, disgusted fans are reporting little interest in their hero’s new, most ordinary of plights."
Etymology and logoEdit
|Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey||October 17, 2002||co-production with La Géode|
|Ghosts of the Abyss||April 11, 2003||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures, Earthship Productions, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Golden Village, Telepool and UGC PH|
|Holes||April 18, 2003||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures|
|Around the World in 80 Days||June 16, 2004||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures|
|I Am David||December 3, 2004||co-production with Lions Gate Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment|
|Aliens of the Deep||January 28, 2005||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures|
|Because of Winn-Dixie||February 18, 2005||co-production with 20th Century Fox|
|The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe||December 9, 2005||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures|
|Hoot||May 5, 2006||co-production with New Line Cinema and The Kennedy/Marshall Company|
|How to Eat Fried Worms||August 25, 2006||co-production with New Line Cinema|
|Amazing Grace||September 16, 2006||co-production with Samuel Goldwyn Films, Bristol Bay Productions and Ingenious Film Partners|
|Charlotte's Web||December 15, 2006||co-production with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and The Kerner Entertainment Company|
|Bridge to Terabithia||February 16, 2007||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures and Icon Productions|
|The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising||October 5, 2007||co-production with 20th Century Fox|
|Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium||November 16, 2007||co-production with 20th Century Fox and Mandate Pictures|
|The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep||December 25, 2007||co-production with Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Beacon Pictures and Ecosse Films|
|Nim's Island||April 4, 2008||co-production with 20th Century Fox|
|The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian||May 16, 2008||co-production with Walt Disney Pictures|
|Journey to the Center of the Earth||July 11, 2008||co-production with New Line Cinema|
|City of Ember||October 10, 2008||co-production with 20th Century Fox and Playtone|
|The Great Buck Howard||January 18, 2008||co-production with Magnolia Pictures and Playtone|
|Bandslam||August 14, 2009||co-production with Summit Entertainment|
|Tooth Fairy||January 22, 2010||co-production with 20th Century Fox|
|Ramona and Beezus||July 23, 2010||co-production with 20th Century Fox and Di Novi Pictures|
|Waiting for "Superman"||September 24, 2010||co-production with Paramount Vantage and Participant Media|
|The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader||December 10, 2010||co-production with 20th Century Fox and Dune Entertainment|
- Won't Back Down (co-production with 20th Century Fox) - September 28, 2012
- Chasing Mavericks (co-production with 20th Century Fox) - October 26, 2012
- Parental Guidance (co-production with 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment) - November 21, 2012
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew (co-production with 20th Century Fox) - TBA
- David and Goliath (co-production with Warner Bros. Pictures, Columbia Pictures,Lionsgate,Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Alliance Atlantis, TriStar Pictures, HBO Films, New Line Cinema, Exclusive Media Group, Newmarket Films, Miramax Films, DreamWorks SKG, Chernin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures) (distributed by 20th Century Fox)
- The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John
- Mike Lupica's Comeback Kid Book Series: Two-Minute Drill by Mike Lupica
- Mike Lupica's Comeback Kid Book Series: Hot Hand by Mike Lupica
- Paddywhack Lane by Bob Fuller
- Jim Thorpe: Original All American by Joseph Bruchac
- Simon Bloom, the Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman
- Savvy by Ingrid Law
- Dolphin Song by Lauren St. John
- Mike Lupica's Comeback Kid Book Series: Safe at Home by Mike Lupica
- ↑ "Who we are". Walden Media
- ↑ Jensen, Jeff. "The Family Business". Entertainment Weekly, 28 April 2006: 58-61.
- ↑ Berkowitz, Bill. "The movie, the media, and the conservative politics of Philip Anschutz." Media Transparency, 2 December 2005.
- ↑ "Fox Filmed Entertainment and Walden Media Enter into Joint Venture to Market and Release Films for the Family Audience". Walden Media press release.
- ↑ "Our Company". Walden Media corporate site
- ↑ Deahl, Rachel. "Walden Media Works to Make Moviegoers Readers". Publisher’s Weekly, 16 January 2006.
- ↑ Toomey, Shamus. "I’ve Never Broken a World Record". Chicago Sun-Times, 14 December 2006.
- ↑ http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1186021_3,00.html
- ↑ "The Dark Is Rising links". Authorblog, 7 August 2007.
- ↑ Gillispe, John. "The Dark is Sinking: Book-to-Film Adaptation of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Angers Fans". Blogcritics Magazine, 26 July 2007.