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Resurrections in 3D

Three-dimensional hype updates classical children shows

22/03/2011

TV-shows and movie remakes are premiered every year. For example, in 2009 we saw how The A-Team and Karate Kid came back to the theatres, with new faces and plots, appealing to all those who were kids in the eighties and consider these characters as legendary. And this year is the turn of children’s TV and comic classics. Which is quite understandable: 3D can be easily adapted to these stories, these shows were already very successful and of course licensing business is especially tempting in movies addressed to juvenile audiences: toys, videogames, t-shirts, comics, bags and practically any product able to show character’s faces.

Tintin: a Spielberg trilogy
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is the 3D animated feature movie directed by Steven Spielberg and expected to open in October. The script was written by Steven Moffat, the author of the acclaimed BBC’s Sherlock. The movie features voices by Andy Serkis ( Lord of the Rings’ Gollum) as Captain Haddock, and by Daniel Craig (James Bond) as Red Rackham, among others.

Spielberg will produce a trilogy about the character, with other two adaptations yet to decide. We already know that Peter Jackson ( Lord of the Rings) will direct the second movie. Jackson is also in charge of supervising the quality of the movies digital image.

The 23 comic-books that Hergé could finish were published between 1930 and 1976. The Belgian author didn’t want anybody else to continue Tintin’s adventures after his death, but that has not mean at all that books are not still selling: 200 million copies in 60 languages. This has obviously helped Tintin’s success in other formats and media, including a TV show premiered in 1991. This show run for 39 episodes that explained all books with the exception of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo, criticized for its racist content.

Given all this, the film has everything to end up as a success. And it could easily be also a success for licensed products. Since the fifties, the comic book also had products inspired in the series: figures, key rings, t-shirts, diaries, playing cards and other products up to 250 different items distributed by the Hergé Foundatioun through its commercial division Moulinsart, which is also the name (in French) of Haddock’s castle. Furthermore, Tintin is not only a successful brand for children, but it also has a wide circle of collectors and adult readers.

Transfomers
Another nostalgic premiere for 2011 also be in 3D, but with real actors, will be Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The movie will be in theatres in Summer and its based on the Hasbro toys that also star in two cartoon series (1984-1988 and 2007-2009), and in comics and animated films since created in 1984. The first movie with some real actors and a lot of special effects was premiered in 2007. Transformers was directed by Michael Bay, produced by Steven Spielberg and starred by Shia La Beouf.

This blockbuster sold tickets for $700 million, becoming the fifth most seen film of the year. And it was also a merchandising hit: Hasbro signed 250 licensing agreements that together with its own toys sale handed the company $480 million. The second movie sold tickets for more than $830 million (the fourth most seen movie in 2009) and brought Hasbro revenues for $592 million. The third release is not yet out, but expectatives are so positive that a fourth release for 2012 has already been announced.

All this because the brand no only sells toys, but also videogames, comics, clothes and sports apparel, and stationery. Hasbro is even going to sell glasses in the shape of Optimus Prime and Bumblee helmets to see the movie in 3D.

They will be sold for $10 each.

Maya the Bee
The Belgian company Studio 100 and the Spanish Planeta Junior produce for TV the new show in 3D starred by Maya the Bee, 35 years after the premiere of the Japanese series based on the book written by Waldemar Bonsels in 1912. The series 104 episodes were broadcasted in Japan in two sittings: 1975-1976 and 1982-1983. The show arrived in Spain in 1978.

The new series will open in 2012 in Europe, and is part of a project that will update other TV classics such as Heidi and Vicky the Viking, using 3D technology but respecting the feeling of the original show. 

Planeta Junior has already announced that 88 companies have joined the licensing program in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece, where the firm owns the property rights. And of course these companies will manufacture licensed products of all kinds: toys and games, stationery, clothes, furniture, accessories, perfumes and food.

The smurfs go to New York
Maya the Bee is 35 years old, but 17 years younger than the smurfs (Les Schroumpfs), created in 1958 as comic characters by Belgian illustrator Peyo. The TV show was produced by Hanna-Barbera and premiered in 1981, running for nine seasons. The series premiered in Spain in 1983 and are currently re-run in around 30 countries.

The Smurfs became one of longest running animated show after 256 episodes, alongside titles such as The Flintstones (166), Scooby-Doo (288) and The Simpsons (480 and running).

The film produced by Sony will combine animated smurfs with real actors, all in 3D. The movie will open August 5th and will show the smurfs arriving to New York as they escape from Gargamel. Biplano has licensing rights in Spain, and hopes to continue sales of books and figures, as well as other products inspired by the series: t-shirts, bags and stationery, among others.

Yogi Bear is 53 and now three-dimensional
Yogi Bear is another Hanna-Barbera character that has jumped from TV to cinema. This new 3D film premiered in February and although critical response was not quite good, box office results were better than expected by Warner.

The original series lasted from 1958 to 1962, although these 36 episodes have been continuously re-run worldwide. Also, new versions and TV specials were produced, and Yogi and Booboo also starred the first feature movie by Hanna-Barbera.

Concerning licenses, the character had from the beginning its own merchandising line, and nowadays he even gives name to a family camps franchise in the US.

(In our new YouTube channel there is a playlist available, including trailers for these films).
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