The Runelords: Franchise Pictures has partnered with Story Island Entertainment, Origin Entertainment LLC (who will operate under the new trademark Canyonlight Entertainment), and Entertainment Business Group (EBG) for the production of the $80 million epic-adventure franchise “The Runelords,” the first of three films based on the internationally best-selling novels by David Farland. The companies have entered into a co-production and distribution agreement with Franchise Pictures.

Stated John J. Lee, Jr., CEO for EBG: “Elie (Samaha) and the entire Franchise team bring highly beneficial creative and distribution power to these pictures.”

W. David McBrayer of Canyonlight Entertainment, stated, "Canyonlight is pleased to be part of such a great team to produce an epic-adventure motion picture of this scope. ‘The Runelords’ will capture the imagination of audiences worldwide with its unique storyline and visual style."

“The Runelords” is scheduled to commence principal photography in Prague, Czech Republic in June, with negotiations presently being finalized with a top director to helm the film. In addition to producing, EBG is directing international sales, electronic games and merchandising.

Elie Samaha is executive producing and Joseph Merhi is producing for Franchise Pictures for the three films’ series. In anticipation of “The Runelords” being a breakout action-adventure franchise, they plan a major P&A launch and release campaign.

Published in 1997, “The Runelords” was the first novel in the series and was followed by “Brotherhood of the Wolf” and “Wizardborn.” All were best-sellers in North America and the major European territories, and are presently published in eight languages. The latest installment, “Lair of Bones,” was published in Fall 2003, by Tor, a division of St. Martin’s Press.

“The Runelords” series author and creator David Wolverton (pka David Farland), is deeply experienced in major motion picture and electronic game franchise creation. He has written more than twenty best-selling fantasy and science fiction novels, including novels for the “Star Wars” and “The Mummy” franchises, as well as designs for some of the most successful electronic games, including “StarCraft: Brood War.”

The first installment of “The Runelords” epic fantasy series weaves a mixture of magic and myth, romance, valor, wonder and bravery. Wolverton commented that the tale combines the power, action and moral depth of “The Matrix” with the audience demographics of “Spiderman.”

Wolverton adds: “When I first conceived of the Runelords novel series, I saw immediately that it was a great property and a powerful motion picture, games and merchandise platform. It’s a story that takes us to another world, a place where we enjoy being. We will want to develop the story in a variety of mediums which connect to the most important facets of our lives.”

EBG is presently discussing potential global licensing and merchandising deals for multi-platform electronic games and a host of toy, publishing, apparel and other licensing agreements on behalf of the franchise.

Emmy Award-winning visual effects pioneer, Grant Boucher, has been providing creative and artistic direction for the franchise with initial help from Academy Award winner John Nelson (Gladiator, I Robot). Nelson comments: "It's a very strong story where attributes can be traded, so the currency of the realm are things like strength, beauty and other human attributes which are much more valuable than money."

The Runelords is a co-production between Franchise Pictures, who has a standing domestic distribution deal with Warner Bros., Wolverton’s Story Island Entertainment, David McBrayer’s and Richard Shaw’s Canyonlight Entertainment and EBG, which is helmed by Rob Holt and John J. Lee, Jr. with Development and Production President Anne Marie Gillen.

Thanks to IESB.

Brian B.