DIC Entertainment was an animation studio based in Burbank, California that focused on the production of animated material. It was founded by Jean Chapolin in 1971.
Connection with Disney
DIC‘s first business with Disney was then their parent company DIC Animation City, Inc. signed an North American home video deal with Buena Vista Home Video in 1992, which would allow the distributor to distribute DIC shows onto VHS in a semi-exclusive contract. On July 12, 1993, Disney signed a new video deal with the company, allowing the creation of a video label which would eventually be called DIC Toon-Time Video. The Home Video deal wasn’t exclusive to BVHV, as DIC continued on releasing some shows through other Home Video distributors.
In 1993, DIC Animation City formed a limited partnership with Capital Cities/ABC called DIC Entertainment L.P. which Andy Heyward, DIC's CEO took a smaller ownership stake in. DIC Animation City was later folded into the limited partnership. meaning CC/ABC fully owned DIC through DIC Entertainment L.P.. Due to the Limited Partnership status, DIC were allowed to continue operating independently from Capital Cities/ABC, and could continue with their own marketing and distribution. Around this time, ABC Distribution Company‘s international assets would begin to distribute certain DIC programmes worldwide.
In August 1995, the Walt Disney Company announced they would acquire Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion. The purchase was closed in January 1996 and so DIC’s ownership transitioned the The Walt Disney Company. As with the Capital Cities/ABC ownership, DIC continued their operations independently as a separate subsidiary through Disney.
With ABC Distribution Company being folded into Buena Vista International Television, they took over distributing DIC Entertainment’s programmes all over the world.
DIC launched a film division titled DIC Films in 1996, which would produce live action movies. The division signed a first-look deal with Walt Disney Pictures in the same year and through this deal, two movies were put into development - an original movie called Meet the Deedles and a live action adaptation of Inspector Gadget. In 1998, the deal extended for another two years, with planned movies based on the video game series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, anime series Sailor Moon and two original projects - Beardstown Ladies and a Disney Channel Original Movie called Genius in the works. Out of all the movies planned, only Genius was completed and aired.
When Toon Disney launched in 1998, various DIC Entertainment shows aired on the channel. Outside the United States, DIC shows would also air on international Disney networks and blocks due to BVIT's worldwide distribution rights to DIC's post-1990 catalog.
On November 18, 2000, Disney announced they would sell the company alongside its programming library back to Andy Heyward through Bain Capital, Inc. The deal was closed on November 25, 2000, however DIC continued an association with Disney, which included:
- Sabrina: The Animated Series remaining part of the Disney's One Saturday Morning and Disney's One Too blocks (And later Disney Channel and Toon Disney).
- The third season of The New Adventures of Madeline airing on Disney Channel on the Playhouse Disney block, as well as the series remaining part of the Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney schedules.
- Work on a sequel to Inspector Gadget.
- DIC programs remaining as part of a portion of Toon Disney's schedule.
- 2 direct-to-video movies distributed through Buena Vista Home Entertainment (This wouldn’t come to fruition in the end).
- International distribution (Buena Vista International Television) and broadcast rights to future DIC shows alongside the existing post-1990 library in some regions.
DIC Toon-Time Video
DIC Toon-Time Video was a video label distributed in the United States by Buena Vista Home Video, that focused on distributing most of DIC's shows onto VHS. The label was created in 1994, replacing the regular DIC branding on Buena Vista-distributed DIC releases. The partnership was semi-exclusive, as some DIC shows were also released through other distributors, even during Disney's ownership of the company. The label would be retired in 2000, with the last release through the label being the Sailor Moon: The Doom Tree Series VHS boxset.
Outside North America, Buena Vista Home Video would occasionally release some of DIC's programmes onto VHS in some regions like Latin America and Australia, but distribution overseas was mostly done through other home video distributors.
In 2001, The Walt Disney Company purchased Fox Family Worldwide, who owned Saban Entertainment, who themselves owned the international distribution rights to DIC’s pre-1990 catalog. DIC would later re-acquire International distribution rights to their post-1990 catalogue while Disney (through BVS Entertainment and Fox Kids Europe) remained with the pre-1990 catalogue.
In October 2002, DIC announced that the international broadcast rights to their "Movie Toons" (which at the time, were already airing on Nickelodeon in the United States) library was acquired by Walt Disney Television International in France, Germany (The movies would not air on Disney Channel Germany in the country, they instead aired on Cartoon Network and Super RTL), Italy, Southeast Asia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, the Middle East and Scandinavia. For which in these regions, they would air on a respective Disney Channel or Toon Disney network.
In January 2004, DIC confirmed that Walt Disney Television International had acquired their Totally Sabrina package (consisting of Sabrina: The Animated Series and new series Sabrina's Secret Life) in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Asia, Taiwan, Australia, France, Latin America including Brazil, the Middle East and Spain. In Germany, both Disney Channel and Super RTL acquired the package.
In 2004, Heyward purchased Bain Capital's stake in DIC Entertainment and took the company public in the United Kingdom stock market the following year.
In 2006, DIC purchased back the international distribution rights to their pre-1990 catalogue from Disney and Jetix Europe. In the same year, Disney's contract to air Sabrina, The Animated Series, Sabrina's Secret Life and Madeline in the United States expired and all the mentioned shows left Disney Channel and Toon Disney. All three shows would reair on CBS’ “KOL Secret Slumber Party” block later that year, which DIC ran.
In July 2008, Cookie Jar Entertainment purchased and folded DIC Entertainment. Since 2020, most of DIC's former assets and library are owned by WildBrain (formerly known as DHX Media), who acquired Cookie Jar in October 2012. Some exceptions include the live action films they produced with Disney, which the latter retains full ownership to.
Shows/movies produced during Disney ownership
Note: With the exception of the live action movies, none of these programmes have any connection to Disney, even during the era when the company owned DIC. This is because DIC traded independently from Disney's other subsidiaries.
- The Legend of Sarmoti: Siegfried & Roy (1996)
- Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (Season 4, 1996)
- Inspector Gadget's Field Trip (1996-1998)
- Hurricanes (Season 4 and 5, 1996-1997)
- Sonic Christmas Blast (TV Special, 1996)
- Gadget Boy's Adventures in History (1997)
- Sailor Moon R (1997, eps. 66-82 [73-89 unedited])
- Extreme Dinosaurs (1997, produced for Bohbot Entertainment)
- Mummies Alive! (1997)
- The Wacky World of Tex Avery (1997)
- A Christmas Carol (Movie, 1997)
- Meet the Deedles (Movie, 1998)
- Pocket Dragon Adventures (1998, produced for BKN International)
- Sonic Underground (1999)
- Our Friend, Martin (Movie, 1999)
- Inspector Gadget (Movie, 1999)
- Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999)
- Genius (1999)
- Madeline: Lost in Paris (Movie, 1999)
- Sabrina, The Animated Series (1999)
- Archie's Weird Mysteries (1999)
- Inspector Gadget: Gadget's Greatest Gadgets (DTV compilation, 2000)
- Monster Mash (Movie, 2000)
- The New Adventures of Madeline (Season 3, 2000)