News: Will Smith Helps Parody Site Close Multi-Million Dollar Deal

Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 9:05PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Mega actor Will Smith's company Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment have helped popular parody site JibJab close a $7.5 million deal to stay in business.

The site, most known for it's humor-based applications, will now celebrate over a decade of operations.

Founded in 1999 by brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, JibJab became world famous for their irreverent political and pop-culture satires. In 2007, the company entered the burgeoning online greetings market to leverage their unique content creation capabilities into a highly scalable, premium business model. (Topix)

With the financial backing of Smith and company, JibJab will now continue its business arrangement with Polaris Venture Partners.

"We sensed that customers would pay for access to unique, high-quality entertainment that they could use to express themselves online," said JibJab co-founder and CEO Gregg Spiridellis. "With this thesis well proven, and the capital from this financing now in place, we plan to aggressively innovate the online greetings category in the months and years ahead." (CNET)

The financial backing likely came from JibJab's recent increase in user-popularity.

Over the holiday season JibJab recorded 60 million visits as users created 35 million personalized eCards on the site - figures that were likely boosted by the very popular ElfYourself videos that let you stick your face on a dancing elf. (Tech Crunch)

Will's Overbrook company have produced a majority of the actor's blockbuster hits.

Overbrook Entertainment, an entertainment production company, was formed in 1998 by partners James Lassiter and Will Smith. In 2007, the company welcomed a third partner, Ken Stovitz. Films the company has produced over the last 10 years include "Ali," "I-Robot," "Hitch," "Saving Face," "ATL," "The Pursuit of Happyness," "I Am Legend," "Hancock," "Lakeview Terrace," "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Seven Pounds." (PR Web)

Aside from Overbrook, Smith is expected to begin work on sequels for last year's Hancock and I Am Legend.

Despite no official announcement from Smith, a rep for the actor claims "there have been talks about both of these projects." The rep has yet to confirm an official production date. (SOHH)

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