Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Cynopsis: Kids!
02/21/12

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, February 21, 2012, and this your first early morning briefing.

DreamWorks Animation SKG enters into a joint venture with China Media Capital (CMC), with plans to include Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and Shanghai Alliance Investment, Ltd. (SAIL), to establish China-centric family entertainment company. Oriental DreamWorks will develop and produce original Chinese animated and live-action content for distribution both within China and to other territories around the world, as well as creating content and events for mobile, online, and interactive games, live entertainment, theme parks, and consumer products. The Chinese companies will hold a majority stake of about 55% in Oriental DreamWorks, with DreamWorks Animation holding the remaining percentage. Set to officially launch later in 2012 in Shanghai, the new joint venture will initially be capitalized with cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million. DreamWorks Animation has been successful at the Chinese box office with its animated Kung Fu Panda franchise, Kung Fu Panda was the number one animated film when its released in China in 2008 and last year, Kung Fu Panda 2 became the highest-grossing animated film of all time in the region, grossing approximately $100 million.

The second annual Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards, hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, premiered last night on Cartoon Network at 7p.  This year fans got busy logging 100 million votes for their favorite athletes at HallofGame.com, that wildly surpassing the 2011 rookie year’s 37 million votes. The Hall of Game awards were again produced by IMG Media, the production arm of global sports, entertainment and media company, IMG. Time Inc. Sports Group’s SI KIDS franchise serves as the official media partner. Below are some of the Hall of Game categories and winners, for a full list go to HallofGame.com (www.hallofgame.com).

All-Pro Class Clown
Torii Hunter (MLB)

Alti-Dude
Steve McCann (BMX)

Foes Forever (BFF)
LeBron James/Kobe Bryant (NBA)

Captain Clutch
Tim Tebow: OT win vs. Chicago Bears led to 6th straight win (NFL)

Dance Machine
Victor Cruz, Giants (NFL)

Epic Blooper
Ben Revere somersaults his way to a triple (MLB)

Fanatic Fanstars
St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

Gnarliest Newb
Cam Newton, Panthers (NFL)

Awesome Mascot
San Jose Sharks “Sharkie” (NHL)

Viral Player
Frisbee trick shot by Brodie Smith

Whoa-Ment
Heath Frisby (snowmobile freestyle)

LICENSING

Ladybird Books, an imprint of Penguin Children’s Books, debuts a new Me Books picture book app for Peppa Pig in the UK.  The Peppa Pig Me Books collection is available for iOS devices, allows users to read, listen to narrator John Sparkes, and record their own narration with sound effects, for the book, as well as save up to three of their recordings.  Additionally, the app features creative play opportunities that support language and literacy skills. The interactive Peppa Pig Me Books collection includes the title Peppa Pig: Fun at the Fair. Ladybird Books debuted its first Peppa Pig app, Stars, in 2010.

Trajectory, a developer of interactive content, introduces PuzzleSpace a new free app for the iPad and iPhone featuring puzzles based on noted artist Stephen Huneck‘s images of his black Labrador, Sally. Huneck is well known for his kid’s book series staring Sally. Published by Abrams Book, the series includes titles such as Sally Goes to the Beach, Sally Goes to the Farm, and Sally Goes to the Vet among others.

Hoho Entertainment furthers the licensing program for its CG animated preschool property Cloudbabies in the UK.  Hoho entertainment appoints Aykroyds & TDP as licensing partner for kid’s nightwear and underwear. Created by Bridget Appleby, Cloudbabies is currently in production at animation house Studio Liddell and will premiere later this year on CBeebies (UK). Vivid is the master toy partner for Cloudbabies, and Penguin Children’s Books is the master publishing partner.

Miniclip (www.miniclip.com), a free-to-play casual gaming portal and game developer/publisher/distributor, has appointed US-based Dimensional Branding Group (DBG) as its exclusive licensing agency to represent the Miniclip brand, first-party game title characters and related intellectual property for use on branded merchandise. DBG will work directly with Miniclip’s newly formed licensing group. Miniclip recently launched into the mobile games market, including the debut of titles such as Gravity Guy and iStunt 2, both of which will be featured titles for licensing. Miniclip boasts 65+ million unique users playing over 650 games on miniclip.com every month.

Topps partners with electronics accessory maker, GelaSkins, to release the classic Mars Attacks card series on skins for 150+ digital devices (e.g. cell phones, laptops, gaming accessories) as part of the 50th anniversary of the brand’s licensing effort. The initial products for release include 12 images from the original 1962 card series, with a few more recent artist renditions of the collection, such as the famous “Spy Girl.” Other Mars Attacks 50th anniversary product launches include an all-new comic book series from IDW Publishing, action figures from Mezco Toyz and a commemorative trading card set, among others.

Headline Entertainment, a licensed apparel company, signs on as a new licensee for Mr. Bubble (www.mrbubble.com), under a new deal brokered by Firefly Brand Management.  The deal will see Headline Entertainment manufacture Mr. Bubble fashion t-shirts for all ages.  Other new Mr. Bubble licensing deals include those with Senario (bath toy line) and Multipet. Firefly is currently seeking further licensing partnerships including categories such as accessories, men’s, beauty, stationery and home.

SPAM goes walking. Hormel Foods enters into a footwear deal for its SPAM brand with surf shoe brand, Sanuk. Under the deal, Sanuk will release a line of SPAM inspired Sidewalk Surfer slip on shoes. Firefly Brand Management, the SPAM and Hormel Food’s licensing agency, completed this deal for the SPAM brand, as well as several others including Headline Entertainment (T-shirts), Rizzoli USA (calendars), Aquarius (stationery, novelty), and Rasta Imposta (costumes).

MARKETING

FAO Schwarz marks its 150th anniversary in 2012. To celebrate the milestone FAO Schwarz, founded in 1862 by Frederick August Otto Schwarz, will host special in-store and online features and events, and unveils a 150th anniversary logo. At the store, the toy retailer brings back the Welcome to Our World FAO Schwarz Clock Tower, which was in place for 18 years, and a spiffed up look of the real-life toy soldiers that welcome consumers to the store, as well as adding 14-foot-tall toy soldiers and banners inside the store. FAO Schwarz also celebrates at its retail website FAO.com, where it is showcasing the brand’s history (www.fao.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=4411978), and will offer limited edition commemorative items from toy manufactures including Mattel, Hasbro, Playmobil, Steiff, Madame Alexander and others. Products will include an FAO Schwarz-themed Monopoly board, a toy soldier Barbie doll and Playmobil figures, and FAO’s own exclusive plush bears. FAO’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fao) will also feature the brand’s history and trivia facts. Beginning this week FAO Schwarz will present A Gallery of Historic Toys at its NYC store, a gallery featuring classic toys and brand artifacts.

MORE KIDS STUFF

Former Doctor Who stars David Tenant and Sophie Aldred lend their voices to best pals Tom (Aldred) and Twigs (Tennant) in the new multi-platform fantasy, action-adventure preschool series, Tree Fu Tom, which will launch on CBeebies (UK) this March 2012. The cast also features the voices of Tim Whitnall and Samantha Dakin. The physical movement-focused series revolves around Tom, a seemingly average 8-year-old – until he puts on his magic belt and is able to perform magic action-movements, known as Tree Fu, which transforms him into a super-hero and transports him to the enchanted kingdom. The series uses therapeutic movement techniques that are used to help kids with movement disorders such as Dyspraxia, but also support physical development for all kids. The series also features a corresponding interactive website, created by Plug In Media, which includes games and activities. Parent support content and behind the scenes footage and interviews will also be available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/. Tree Fu Tom is a co-production between CBeebies In-House Production and FremantleMedia Enterprises. Blue Zoo Animation produces the animation for the series. Tree Fu Tom was created Daniel Bays, who is also producing the series. FME will distribute Tree Fu Tom outside of the UK and manage all other ancillary rights worldwide.

Beyond Distribution finalizes deals across the Americas in Canada, US Hispanic market and Latin America for its kid-targeted mixed 2D and CGI animated and live-action series Iconicles (26×30). Discovery Kids picks up Iconicles for the US Hispanic Market as well as Latin America for an April 2012 launch. Discovery Familia is also on board for the growing US Hispanic market. TV Ontario acquires the Canadian broadcast rights for the series, which it plans to debut in 2012. Beyond has also partnered with Exim licensing to release merchandise for the property across Latin America and Brazil. Commissioned by CBeebies UK, Iconicles was produced by Create Media Ventures with phuuz entertainment in association with Dinamo Productions. Presales were inked with ABC Kids for exclusive broadcast within Australia and Beyond Home Entertainment for DVD rights in the same territory.

Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution will release the new, and first, Bubble Guppies DVD, featuring episodes of Nickelodeon’s preschool 3D CGI animated series Bubble Guppies, on May 1, 2012. The DVD will include songs from the series, a special double-length episode starring Wanda Sykes, which premiered on Nickelodeon over this past weekend, as well as two other Bubble Guppies episodes. The Bubble Guppies DVD also includes exclusive bonus content such as the Create Your Own Bubble Guppy game, karaoke music videos and a jukebox song selection. Bubble Guppies is created and executive-produced by Jonny Belt and Robert Scull and co-executive produced by Janice Burgess (Backyardigans, Little Bill).

Program Call:  Cynopsis Media will be producing our annual MIPTV Shopping Guide sent to all Cynopsis and Cynopsis Kids subscribers on Thursday, March 29, the week before MIPTV 2012 in Cannes. If your company is an official exhibitor at MIPTV this year and would like to have your programming included in our shopping guide, 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 Lisa Ball at: lisa@cynopsis.com no later than Thursday, March 22, 2012. A confirmation email will be sent following each submission from Lisa (if you do not receive a confirmation email, please resubmit).

STONE SOUP

Weekend Box Office Estimates for kids/tweens/teens rated G, PG or PG-13; Four Day President’s Day Weekend, February 17-20, 2012:
The Vow (Sony) PG-13                                                      $26.6m-2 wk total $88.5m
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Warner Bros.) PG                $26.4-2 wk total $59.5m
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (Sony) PG-13                      Opening Weekend $25.7
This Means War (Fox) PG-13                                               Opening Weekend $20.4m
Star Wars: Episode I  The Phantom Menace 3D (Fox) PG          $10.2m-2wk total $36.0m
Chronicle (2012) (Fox) PG-13                                              $9.2m-3 wk total $52.7m
The Secret World Of Arrietty (Disney) PG                              Opening Weekend $8.1m
The Woman in Black (CBS) PG-13                                        $7.9m-3 wk total $46.5m
Big Miracle (Universal) PG                                                   $3.0m-3 wk total $17.5m
The Artist (Weinstein) PG-13                                              $3.0m-13 wk total $28.1m
Source: Rentrak (www.rentrak.com)


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Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Benny the Ball was the right hand man to whom? Top Cat. Kudos to: Bob Eisenstaedt-Granite Springs Productions/Tampa; Pat Brady-CESD/LA; George Evelyn-Spider-Eye, Ltd./United Kingdom.

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Later — Gwen
Gwen Billings for Cynopsis Kids!
02.21.12

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