South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are starting their own production studio, Important Studios, built with revenue from investors, as well as their hit TV show (now in its 16th season) and Broadway smash Book of Mormon, The New York Times reports.
"Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves," Parker and Stone joked in the statement announcing the studio. Worth an estimated $300 million, Important will develop projects for TV, film and theater, and one of the first is expected to be a film version of Book of Mormon.
Initially, Stone considered modeling Important after massive production companies like Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks or George Lucas' Lucasfilm, but reconsidered: "In some ways it's a stupid comparison because they are gargantuan," he said. "We want to be a smaller, more humble version of that." He added, "If DreamWorks is Walmart, we are over here knitting sweaters."
Stone and Parker had been talking about starting their own independent production company for almost two years. "At first we thought we’d get some money from a hedge fund or a Russian oligarch or something," said Stone, though the duo ultimately built Important with the help of Joseph Ravitch, head of the Raine Group, a merchant bank that focuses on entertainment, digital media and sports.
Important Studios will allow Parker and Stone to maintain more control over their future projects, as well bypass the traditional Hollywood system to reach fans more directly. "We want to have a little control over our life," Stone said. "We used to walk into a studio and try to become an employee. We're done with that. We are too grown up for that."