Ron Howard's 'Imagine Films' Inks Big Money Backer

One of the most influential powerhouses in Hollywood has inked a major deal to expand into new areas such as branded content and digital formats.

Imagine Entertainment, the production company led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, secured a $125 million investment from the Raine Group to fund new projects across various media.

During an interview with FOX Business Network’s Mornings With Maria, the actor, director, and producer told host Maria Bartiromo the investment deal signifies a new period of growth both creatively and as a business.

“It’s gonna give us more flexibility, we’ll own more of what we make and that’s only the beginning because the idea is to go much further with that, scale our company up,” Howard said.

The investment partnership with the merchant bank, the Raine Group, will allow Imagine to expand their presence in TV and increase its collaboration with more actors and directors.

Howard, who’s ambition in entertainment began as a child actor on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and later as Richie Cunningham in ‘Happy Days,’ discussed the impact technology, including streaming, has had on the creative process.

“More unique and specific kinds of TV shows and movies speak directly to viewers who truly love that tone, that style, that look, that feel, whatever that show is. And it enables artists to be far more specific and personal in a lot of ways themselves with speaking to that audience and the system is finding a way to monetize that.”

He also discussed what’s resonating with movie audiences today and the challenges major film studios face as they look to increase their box office dollars by shying away from spending on block buster movies.

“Whether it’s the big screen or the small screen, I think there are just more stories that speak to you, the consumer. I know I feel that way as a fan,” Howard said.

He continued, “The economics are challenging. They’re really difficult for the studios and this causes the studios to be far more conservative about the kinds of movie they make.”

As a film maker, Howard says he considers which medium works best for his movies.

“We all know from our own lives that as much as film makers want everybody to see everything they make on the big screen with the great sound and some of us still prefer to see movies that way that’s not the majority instance anymore ever. It’s always more people see it in the ancillary markets than they ever see it on the big screen,” Howard said.

Imagine Entertainment, which was founded in 1986, is credited for block buster films such as the Oscar best-picture winner ‘A Beautiful Mind, ‘Apollo 13’and the TV series ‘Empire, which is produced by an arm of  21st Century Fox (NASDA:FOXA) the parent of and the FOX Business Network.

Howard’s next major film, ‘Inferno’, is the third installment of author Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. It is slated to hit theaters in October.