Former Walden Media CEO Cary Granat and ILM stalwart Ed Jones have teamed up to launch the family oriented content provider Bedrock Studios.

The partners, currently collaborating on the live-action creation story In The Beginning, aim to create multi-platform transmedia content including franchise films budgeted at $35m and below.

The first film in the pipeline is the animated buddy movie Turkeys featuring the voice cast of Owen Wilson, recent Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson, and Luke Wilson.

Ash Brannon, who co-directed Toy Story 2 and Surf’s Up, is directing from a screenplay by producer John J Strauss. Peter Farrelly will serve as executive producer on the story, about a pair of turkeys who travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to take themselves off the menu.

Privately backed Santa Monica and Dallas-based Bedrock will use Granat’s production and business experience and Jones’ visual effects and post-production expertise, drawing on the resources of Granat Entertainment and Texan effects house Reel FX to minimise costs.

Jones, the longtime ILM executive who shared the 1988 visual effects Oscar for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and has worked on the Star Wars franchise and Terminator 2 among dozens of others, joined Reel FX as CEO 18 months ago.

Bedrock is actively developing other projects including Rats Of NIMH, A Wrinkle In Time and Dinosaur Bob. Rats Of NIMH is set up at Paramount Pictures and based on Robert C O’Brien’s children’s adventure book. The goal is to forge co-financing alliances with studios over time.

“There’s a market need for high-end franchise projects that can be made for a price,” Grant said. “People are getting frustrated and tired with big budget projects, especially when you have got involved with international partners and there are tons and tons of fees.”

Granat added that the way to keep costs down was to ensure creative control over the process of visual effects and animation. “Ed has run some of the best effects houses and I have worked on the creative and production oriented side. Together we bring a skillset that allows us to control all aspects of the process.”