A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM SPROUT
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Good morning. It’s Monday, April 22, 2013, and this is your first early morning briefing.
With the release Friday of its first six original kids pilots for public consumption online, Amazon Studios director Roy Price tells CynKids he isn’t keen on the all-you-can-eat release strategy embraced by fellow digi-studio Netflix with its House of Cards premiere in February. “The only way to release all the episodes at once is to keep finished episodes in the closet for a number of months and delay their release. I don’t know about that from a customer choice point of view,” Price says. “Arguably, we might as well put the episodes out there and if [viewers] want to watch them individually as they come or wait, this gives them a lot of choice.” Price, a former Disney programming and development exec, acknowledges there’s a learning curve in the children’s programming space. “We have to think about the dynamic. Is it different in the preschool space? Is there a premium on having a certain amount of episodes available at launch?”
Amazon’s children’s pilots, all aimed at the preschool audience, include projects from J.J. Johnson and the Jim Henson Co. They will be available for free viewing for at least one month, according to Price. Based on audience feedback, the company will develop the best-loved shows into complete series, set to debut in early 2014 on subscription services Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video in the States, Lovefilm UK and Lovefilm Germany. Is the company prepared to develop all six series if they get a collective thumbs up? “That’s a problem I hope to have,” Price says.
Here’s a brief description of the Amazon Kids pilots:
Annebots: Animated series about a young scientist and her three robot helpers who assist her in experiments using treasures found in her dad’s junkyard. Created by J.J. Johnson.
Creative Galaxy: An animated, interactive art-focused series designed to inspire creativity through crafts, story and music. Created by Angela Santomero, who developed Emmy-nominated Super Why!, and Blues Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Oz Adventures: Problem-solving animated series that centers on Dorothy’s daughter Dot and her adventures with different characters based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved book.
Sara Solves It: Animated brother and sister duo Sara and Sam solve big mysteries based on the questions little kids encounter in their daily lives. Each mystery is a math-based puzzle viewers can solve along with the episode. Created by Emmy winner Carol Greenwald (Curious George, Arthur) and Angela Santomero.
Teeny Tiny Dogs: Puppets including Butch, Butterfly, Dinky and Polly help each other navigate the world despite their minuscule size. From the Jim Henson Co. and created by Howard Baker of Rugrats fame.
Tumbleleaf: Created by Drew Hodges and Bix Pix Studios and set in a whimsical land, the animated series features a small blue fox named Fig who discovers adventure and friendship in his everyday adventures.
Like other Frenchmen of distinction, Babar is dabbling in the realm of high fashion. As part of his gala 80th anniversary celebration this year, the King of the Elephants is collaborating with Opening Ceremony stores in New York and Los Angeles to offer the limited-edition the Babar Meets Soulland menswear collection from Danish designer/Soulland CEO Silas Alder. The clothing line comprises long and short-sleeve button down shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts and shorts featuring vintage illustrations created by Babar author and illustrator Jean de Brunoff. The collection debuted earlier this month at Paris’ famed retailer Colette and had debuts at other high-end international retailers including London’s Goodhood, Brussels’ Hunting & Collecting and Berlin’s Soto et Voo before making its way to the States. Babar has appeared in more than 100 books in 17 languages, multiple TV series and specials and a feature-length film.
Time flies. Radical Sheep Productions is feting the 20th anniversary of preschool series The Big Comfy Couch with a licensing deal with Segal Licensing, and a DVD/digital distribution deal with Fisher Klingenstein Ventures and the release of two music albums. All 100 episodes of the series will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting in June; CDs are available on CD Baby and iTunes.
DreamWorks Animation is developing a new film, working title Tibet Code, with sister Oriental DreamWorks’ and partners China Media Capital and Shanghai Alliance Investment Co. The action-adventure is based on the series of popular Chinese novels set in ninth century Tibet. In related news, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffery Katzenberg pocketed a compensation package in 2012 of $5.24 million, up 31% from $4 million the prior year, according to a Hollywood Reporter report based on an SEC statement from the company.
Tesco and the Walt Disney Co. U.K. are feeding the fan love for Marvel’s upcoming Iron Man 3 movie with the joint launch the Stark Armoury app. Available via iTunes, Google Play and at the Tesco Iron Man 3 website, the app enables users to photograph themselves, frame their likeness in the famed Mark II suit and share the photos via social media. Additional Stark Armoury fun can be unlocked at Tesco stores, where fans can scan Stark Armoury labeled displays with their device and unlock new app features.
MORE KIDS NEWS
Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. have hired investment bank Guggenheim Partners to help them find a buyer for Hulu, an interesting scenario given Guggenheim is considering putting in its own bid for the Internet streaming site.
BY THE NUMBERS
Weekend box office estimates for the 10 top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for April 19-21, 2013:
Oblivion (Universal) PG-13 $38.15 million (weekend) $38.15 million (1-week cume)
42 (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $18.03 million (weekend) $54.06 million (2-week cume)
The Croods (20th Century Fox) PG $9.5 million (weekend) $154.9 million (5-week cume)
Scary Movie 5 (The Weinstein Co.) PG-13 $6.3 million (weekend) $22.94 million (2-week cume)
GI Joe: Retaliation (Paramount) PG-13 $5.78 million (weekend) $111.21 (4-week cume)
Jurassic Park (Universal) PG-13 $4 million (weekend) $38.48 million (3-week cume)
Oz the Great and Powerful (Disney) PG $3.05 million (weekend) $223.77 million (7-week cume)
Home Run (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn) PG-13 $1.62 million (weekend) $1.62 million (1-week cume)
The Host (Open Road) PG-13 $1 million (weekend) $25.18 million (4-week cume)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox) PG $158,500 (weekend) $124.52 million (22-week cume)
Drop in, tune out: It’s almost time for National Screen Free Week, that bastion of in-the-moment non-virtual living that’s evolved from simply shutting off the television to powering down all devices whose screens suck us in. To sweeten the non-screen pot during the week of April 29-May 5, Random House Children’s Books is launching Random House Unplugs, a 14-city campaign inspired by Dan Yaccarino’s latest book Dog Unplugged. Noted children’s picture book creators including Yaccarino, Chris Raschka, Bob Staake and Tad Hills will participate in a national tour, school beautification projects, and other activities that encourage screen-free time. In select markets, the illustrators will create indoor and outdoor murals with students. During every stop on the tour, each author will also leave a piece of original artwork, created specifically for Screen Free Week. To support parents in their efforts to encourage Screen Free activities, Random House is providing a guide with book suggestions for all ages, activities and tips for screen-free entertaining on randomhousekidsunplugs.com.
Brian Schwagerl joins NBCU as SVP of facilities operations, planning and services. He previously was at Hearst Corp.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
- – – S A V E T H E D A T E – – -
Hosted By: Megan Alexander from Inside Edition!
June 4, 2013 | 8:00 – 10:00a.m.
The Yale Club of NYC
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question: What is the name of Superman’s birth mother? Lara. Kudos to: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NYC; Sharaine Roberts-A+E Networks/NY; Barry Solomon-Retailability Inc/NY; Jeph Loeb-Marvel Television/Glendale CA.
Today’s Trivia Question: What year did Joe take over as host of Blue’s Clues? (Email John@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)
Cheers — Cathy
Cathy@cynopsis.com for Cynopsis Kids!
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