Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 16, 2010, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
Vanguard Films signs Mike Johnson (co-director Corpse Bride) to direct its new family-targeted mixed CG/stop-motion feature film, Oz Wars. According to John Williams, President and CEO, Vanguard Films, new advancements in stop-motion software will make production on the movie more economical. Written by Rob Moreland (Space Chimps 1 & 2 and Vanguard’s upcoming live action City of Dragons) and Athena Gam (Vanguard’s Alien Rock Band), Oz Wars provides a contemporary and “freaky” action twist on the story, as Dorothy is caught in a world of warrior witches, black magic, martial arts and monsters. Johnson won the British Animation Award and earned an Oscar and Annie Award-nominations (with co-director Tim Burton) for his work on Corpse Bride. Several other Oz-related movies are also in the works, including a Disney movie, Oz, The Great and Powerful, which will reportedly be directed by Sam Raimi, one with Drew Barrymore, and a movie adaptation the Broadway musical Wicked, which is based on the book by Gregory Maguire. Of course all the projects are based on the original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and subsequent Oz books, by author Frank L. Baum.
Sony Pictures Animation announces that David Reynolds, who got an Oscar nod for Finding Nemo, is set to pen an untitled animated feature film based on an original story by Stephan Franck (Iron Giant, Despicable Me), who will also direct the project. The movie is the first project under a four picture, first-look deal that The Gotham Group inked with Sony Pictures Animation last year. Gotham’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Peter McHugh and Eric Robinson, and Karen Dufilho-Rosen (Geri’s Game; For The Birds) will executive produce. Reynolds other credits include Chicken Little, A Bugs Life, The Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Fantasia/2000, Tarzan, and Toy Story 2 & 3. Finding Nemo was also nominated for a BAFTA, and won an Annie Award. Franck also co-created (with brother Emmanuel Franck) the international animated TV series Corneil and Bernie (Millimages/BBC).
Big Bird, Elmo and Lily set to star in Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World (52×11), a new daily TV series in Mandarin Chinese set to debut in China on Ha Ha Channel on December 22, at 5:30p. The new series comes from a partnership between Sesame Workshop, Shanghai Toonmax Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, and MSD, a global health solutions company. The preschool series supports younger kid’s natural curiosity about nature and science and encourages hands-on exploration. Each episode begins with a question posed by the Muppet characters about the world around them and takes off from there, featuring two live-action films on the topic and including hands-on activities and other information.
In Canada, Astral‘s kid’s channel Playhouse Disney debuts this week on EastLink. The channel is available to EastLink customers that subscribe to Family Channel, as well as to EastLink subscribers via Family on Demand, which also launches this week on EastLink OnDemand. The Playhouse Disney channel is available in French and English to subscribers across Canada. Playhouse Disney is set to change its name to Disney Junior in May 2011.
Book publishers are more and more targeting parents with younger kids with E-book versions of their titles for various devices. HarperCollins Children’s Books is releasing 30+ of its classic picture books for digital platforms including Fancy Nancy, Splat the Cat, and Marley. Also aiming for kids with its E-books is Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, which is offering a range of electronic versions of its frontlist and classic illustrated titles, including a collection of the Oliva picture books, for viewing on the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone or via the NOOKcolor by Barnes & Noble.
Ludia, an interactive entertainment company, and Classic Media join to launch the new Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood app for iPhone and iPod Touch ($2.99) and iPad (HD $4.99). In the new app, the second for Where’s Waldo, fans will get to search and find Waldo all over Hollywood at red carpet events, epic films (e.g. Robin Hood, The Wild West, The Three Musketeers, with the game play enhanced animation, new game play modes and features that offer a new way to interact with the game.
Interactive publisher Callaway Digital Arts and HIT Entertainment debut the new Thomas the Tank Engine interactive app, Misty Island Rescue, for the iPad. Based on the animated feature-length movie, Misty Island Rescue is the sole Thomas & Friends app for iPad, and it is the first interactive app of several apps planned for the brand from the partners. The Misty Island Rescue app features multi-touch animation and narration, story-related sound effects, games, CG animated video and art activities.
Program Call: Cynopsis Media will be producing our annual NATPE Shopping Guide sent to all Cynopsis and Cynopsis Kids subscribers on Thursday, January 20, the week before NATPE 2011 in Miami. If you would like to have your programming included, please send us only the following info for your top 5 shows: title, availability date, number of episodes, length, type (i.e., movie, series, special, etc.), genre and your terms (barter, cash, etc.) as well as your company’s stand/booth location. To be included in this free and highly-viewed special edition, please send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, January 14, 2011. A confirmation email will be sent following each submission from Lisa (if you don’t receive a confirmation email, please resubmit).
Cartoon Network and Kids Foot Locker are teaming up for a sweepstakes promotion for the inaugural Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards ( www.hallofgame.com ); the show will debut in early 2011. The promotion gets underway on Monday, December 20, and is part of Kids Foot Locker’s overall sponsorship of the on air awards show. Next week the network will drive viewers to tune in to its movie marathon on December 23, 5-7p, during which it will feature a phone number kids can call to enter and win a trip to the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards. As part of its overall awards show sponsorship, Kids Foot Locker will sponsor a voting category, recognizing the athlete with the best sense of style, featured during the awards show and a special Kids Foot Locker micro site at www.hallofgame.com/sneakers . Additionally, the site will feature new sneakers currently available at Kids Foot Locker stores, and a downloadable Kids Foot Locker coupon, redeemable at Kidsfootlocker.com through March 31, 2011. The Cartoon Network Hall of Games Awards is created and produced in association with IMG Media, the production arm of IMG. Also serving as a sponsor of the Cartoon Network Hall of Games Awards is Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers. The Sports Illustrated Group’s SI KIDS franchise will be serving as the official media partner.
Material Girl goes international. MG Icon, a joint venture between Madonna and Iconix Brand Group, inks its first international partnership with Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) for it junior brand, Material Girl. The Material Girl collection, which includes apparel and accessories designed with Madonna and her daughter Lourdes and Iconix Brand Group, will be exclusively available at HBC’s 91 stores in Canada in 2011. The launch of Material Girl, key styles will be available for the upcoming holiday season. The full collection of tops, dresses, jackets, denim, shorts, footwear, and handbags will launch for the spring 2011 season. The line debuted in the US, exclusively at Macy’s stores, in August 2010.
Istanbul-based Hakan Canta, a producer of licensed goods, launches a new collection of products featuring Spider-Sense Spiderman the classic version of Spidey for Turkey, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. There are two different lines of product, one line includes products that light up by touching a button, with the other line featuring talking products that utter noted Spiderman phrases with the touch of a button. Both lines include a range of products, including backpacks, trolley bags and pencil cases.
Marj Kleinman joins WNET as Sr. Interactive Producer/Children’s & Educational Programming. Kleinman will develop and implement digital content for WNET’s kid’s programming, which includes Cyberchase, Angelina Ballerina and the new Mission US, a series of online games for Middle Schoolers that focus on American history. Most recently, Kleinman was Director/Digital Media at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. WNET is the parent company of NY’s public TV stations Thirteen and WLIW21.
Astral Television Networks names Peter Furnish as VP/Marketing. Heading up the marketing, interactive consumer care and research departments, Furnish will develop strategic, multi-platform marketing plans and initiatives targeted to consumers of The Movie Network, HBO Canada, Mpix, Family Channel and Playhouse Disney. He will report to Domenic Vivolo, SVP/Marketing and Sales, Astral Television Networks. Prior to joining Astral, Furnish was Director/Marketing Strategy & Partnerships, Virgin Mobile Canada.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
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Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia: This sitcom character had many nicknames including Mr. Beer Belly, Mr. Bumper Sticker, Mr. Beaver Dam, and Mr. Bell Ringer. What was his real name? MR. BELVEDERE Kudos to: Dave Bourla-Howcast Media/NY; David Stern-BARD Ent/NY; Eric Covert-Disney Channels Worldwide/Burbank; Irene Lane-Disney ABC Networks/Burbank
Today’s Trivia Question: What animated sci-fi character is quote with this enlightened story: “”It’s just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long, the grasshopper kept burying acorns for the winter, while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. But then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns. And also he got a racecar. Is any of this getting through to you?” (Email Cynthia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
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