Movies

Life After ‘Walking Dead’ for Skybound Entertainment

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The TV megahit “The Walking Dead” will end its historic run on AMC this Sunday, but that conclusion doesn’t mark the end of the franchise.

There’s a slew of current and forthcoming extensions of the zombie-happy brand, courtesy of the production company that birthed it, Skybound Entertainment. CEO David Alpert, who co-founded the company with series creator Robert Kirkman, have plans for “Walking Dead” that go years into the future.

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“We think that there’s opportunities to be telling stories in this space for the rest of our natural lives,” said Alpert on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” The interview was conducted earlier this month at the Future of Television summit, prior to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by Alpert and other producers seeking profits from the franchise.

There are already three “Walking Dead” spinoff series and another three on the way, as well as brand extensions from video games to wine. But as large as the franchise’s shadow looms, there’s plenty of other intellectual property blossoming at Skybound, including Prime Video series “Invincible,” Audible audiobook series “Impact Winter” and the upcoming theatrical “Renfield,” starring Nicolas Cage.

And like “Walking Dead,” which started as a comic book conceived by Kirkman before jumping to TV, the other IP at Skybound is created with no one particular medium in mind. “I’d say historically, production companies are oriented around a method of distribution,” said Alpert. “They’re making television to be displayed in cable or broadcast. They’re making movies to be in theaters, or now in streaming. But we’re organized around building IP, and connecting creators with their audience in every area in every medium that they want to be operating. And I think that’s the thing that separates us.”

Having secured another round of funding in May, Skybound is in growth mode, building out its capabilities in animation, audio and videogame publishing. The company is also seeking investment from non-traditional sources including Kickstarter and awaiting approval for a crowd equity raise in partnership with Republic, which will give fans of Skybound IP the opportunity to own a piece of the business.

“We’ll be having an opportunity to bring more people into the company, so they can feel like partners,” said Alpert, who also appeared on a Variety podcast in 2017

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud..

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