Wondering why the name “Saban” appears above the title in billboards and posters for the new “Power Rangers” film? People around Hollywood are familiar with the Saban name because of the Saban family’s philanthropy, which has earned them some very high-profile placements. But for anyone who still isn’t sure if Saban is a company or a person, here’s what Haim Saban did to earn the Tyler Perry treatment on “Saban’s Power Rangers.”
Haim Saban is an Egyptian-born Israeli-American billionaire and media mogul. According to the Daily Mail, he immigrated to Israel when he was 12, attending school there and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces before building a tour promotion business. Saban now holds dual citizenship between Israel and the U.S., according to a profile in the New Yorker.
The Richest places his worth at $3.4 billion. He owes much of his fortune to the “Power Rangers” brand, which he imported from Japan in early 1990s.
After living for several years in France, where he established a record company, Saban moved to Los Angeles in 1983, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. He started a chain of recording studios and formed Saban Productions, which would be renamed in 1988 as Saban Entertainment, an international television, production, distribution and merchandising company.
He discovered the characters that become the “Power Rangers” during a business trip to Japan in 1984, telling the Los Angeles Times:
I’m laying in bed in my hotel room in Japan. At the time there is no Netflix, no cable, no nothing — just three channels playing game shows. … All of the sudden there were these five kids in spandex fighting monsters. Don’t ask me why, but I fell in love. It was so campy!
It took Saban eight years to sell “Power Rangers” in the U.S. but in 1992, he took the show to Margaret Loesch, president of Fox Children’s Network, and she committed to putting it on air.
The series that debuted on American television in 1993 as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” is now in its 24th season, making it one of the longest running children’s action series in television history. It’s also spawned three theatrical films, including the latest, proudly titled “Saban’s Power Rangers.”
“Saban’s Power Rangers” features the main characters from the original TV series of five California high school students forming a team to stop an alien threat, but now includes two new superheroes, one gay and the other autistic.
The success of “Power Rangers” convinced Saban to join forces with Fox to create their own kids TV network, Fox Family, which was sold to Disney in 2001 for $5.3 billion.
A decade later, in 2010, sensing a “Power Rangers” resurgence courtesy of Nineties nostalgia, Saban bought back “Power Rangers” for a reported $100 million.
Though he’s mostly stuck to kids’ TV, he also owns part of Univision and serves as the channel’s executive chairman, according to Alternet.
Politically, Saban is a major backer of pro-Israel causes and has been one of the most prolific Democratic fundraisers in the country. He’s given close to $12 million to Democrats since 1990, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Back in 2009, The Wilshire Theater Beverly Hills was renamed the Saban Theater in recognition of a $5 million grant from Haim and his wife, Cheryl Saban.
On Thursday, the Saban Theater was playing “Power Rangers,” and displayed the announcement, “Welcome Saban Family.”