Lionsgate has announced its first animated series, a new version of the 1960s animated “Speed Racer.” Variety says Nickelodeon’s 24-hour cartoon channel, Nicktoons, is on board to run the initial 26 episodes.
The new “Speed Racer” cartoon is set to launch next year, around the same time that Warner Bros.’ live-action Speed Racer, directed by the Wachowskis brothers, hits theaters.
The two properties aren’t related, although Katsumoto said he sees the theatrical “as a giant promotional vehicle for ‘Speed Racer’ the brand.”
Lionsgate has hired the New York-based Animation Collective (Nickelodeon’s “Kappa Mikey”) to help produce the new “Speed Racer.” Animation Collective CEO Larry Schwarz will executive produce, along with Speed Racer Enterprise principals John and James Rocknowski.
In the new franchise, young Speed Racer enters a racing academy for the fastest kids on Earth — and discovers that he’s the son of the legendary (and original series’) Speed Racer. He also finds out in the first few episodes that he has a brother — the new Racer X — whom he never knew existed.
Speed Racer wows the school with his Mach 6 (an updated version of the original show’s Mach 5) — the most advanced vehicle in the universe, which doesn’t run on gas. Speed and X team together to prevent villains from stealing the Mach 6 and to find out who’s behind the mysterious disappearance of their father.
Other characters returning include original Speed Racer’s younger brother Spritle, now headmaster of the racing academy. And chimpanzee Chim-Chim is now a mechanical robot.
Peter Fernandez, who voiced Speed Racer in the dubbed American version of the original “Speed Racer,” is aboard to voice Spritle.
Every three episodes of “Speed Racer” will operate together as a mini-movie but will also be divisible into a daily strip.
SCI FI Channel has announced the official return date of “Who Wants to be a Superhero?”:
SCI FI Channel’s hit reality series Who Wants to be a Superhero? from Nash Entertainment and POW! Entertainment Inc., returns for its second season on Thursday, July 26 at 9:PM ET/PT. The new season features an all-new league of 10 superhero contestants, exciting new physical challenges, a few fiendish villains, and two more episodes than last year 8 in all!
Who Wants To Be A Superhero? is a competition reality series unlike any other. It’s a show with heart, humor, thrills, adventure, surprises and spandex! It challenges a lucky few to create their very own superhero alter ego, live together in a secret lair under the watchful eye of Stan Lee and compete for the best reality competition prize yet: immortality! Once again this season, the winning superhero is immortalized in a new comic book from Dark Horse Comics created by Stan Lee himself. This year’s winner will also see his/her character turned into an action figure by Shocker Toys.
“I never thought anything could be more of a blast than writing stories about superheroes, says Stan Lee. “I was wrong! Appearing on Who Wants To Be A Superhero? has been one of the most exciting, fun-filled experiences ever! Imagine, instead of looking at panels of costumed cavorters on a page, I’m looking at them and talking to them and reacting with them in real life! And the tremendous feedback from fans via letters, emails and blogs is half the fun! Sorry I can’t tell you any more right now because I’m too busy writing my acceptance speech for the Emmy Awards, although so far I haven’t gotten any further than– “Excelsior!”
This year’s competing superheroes chosen from auditions around the country are:
Basura (aka Aja De Coudreaux / Oakland, CA) enlists the help of all bugs everywhere and uses her mystical powers to turn trash into treasures.
Braid (aka Crystal Clark / Bloomington, IL) makes herself any age, race, or gender and can turn her hair into crime-busting tentacles.
The Defuser (aka Jarrett Crippen / Austin, TX) is an expert paramilitary superhero who uses non-violent weaponry to stop villains. He has the unique ability to function at 110 percent.
Hygena (aka Melody Mooney / Sherman Oaks, CA) fights crime and grime making weapons from all types of cleaning utensils.
Hyper-Strike (aka John Stork / Plainfield, VT and Chicago) is a martial arts expert with super strength and agility and he can project his Chi (life force) through his hands.
Mindset (aka Phillip Allen / Ft. Lauderdale, FL) is a telekinetic time traveler on a mission to end all war. Originally named Omnicron, Mindset is the viewers’ choice on the show winning his place by Internet voters earlier this year.
Mr. Mitzvah (aka “Sir Ivan” Wilzig / Miami, FL and New York City) is real life Bruce Wayne who lives in a castle, this multi-millionaire’s mission, under the guise of Mr. Mitzvah, is to save the lives of children.
Ms. Limelight (aka Trisha Paytas / Byron, IL and Los Angeles) is a captivating blonde caped-crusader absorbs the powers of action stars on TV and in movies.
Parthenon (aka Dan Williams / Orlando, Fl) is an archaeologist who gets his mystical powers from an ancient gauntlet he discovered in Greece
Whip-Snap (aka Paula Thomas / Dallas, TX and Los Angeles) Raised in Texas, this superhero has a mastery of the whip and if her bare skin touches a villain that villain is turned into sand.
These 10 fearless defenders of truth and justice will match wits against the new nemesis Dr. Dark, a masked evildoer who torments Stan and the superheroes throughout the season. No one knows his real identity, that is, until the exciting season finale.
Also new this season is Executive Producer and show runner Andy Scheer. He previously produced Hell’s Kitchen (Co-Executive Producer/FOX) SCI FI’s Mad Mad House (Consulting Producer), Paradise Hotel (Supervising Producer/FOX) several installments of VH1’a Behind the Music series (Ozzy Osbourne, Jerry Lee Lewis, Alice Cooper) to name a few. He has directed many popular series and specials including American Idol (FOX), Popstars (WB), My Life is a Sitcom (ABC Family), Teen Choice Awards (ABC), Reel Comedy (Comedy Central) and Music Mania (ABC Family).
Who Wants to be a Superhero? was developed by Stan Lee, Bruce Nash and Scott Satin. Lee and Nash are also the show’s executive producers. It is produced with the SCI FI Channel by Nash Entertainment, and Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Inc. Additional Executive Producers are Andrew Jebb and Gill Champion.
Source: SCI FI Channel
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) announced today that it has named Mattel, Inc. as the global master toy licensee for both Speed Racer and The Dark Knight, two of the biggest summer films coming out in 2008 from Warner Bros. Pictures. Mattel will apply its expertise across virtually all product lines including vehicles, action figures, action play, remote control vehicles, handheld electronics as well as games and puzzles.
“In Mattel, we have the best partner with the strongest track record of bringing great products and great stories together for a winning combination in the toy aisle. With these deals, we know that two of our most important tentpole films for 2008, ‘Speed Racer’ and ‘The Dark Knight,’ will be brought to life through products created by the most creative toy designers in the world,” said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
“We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and are thrilled to partner with them for two of the most anticipated films of 2008,” said Neil Friedman, President, Mattel Brands. “The distinctive visuals and stimulating races of ‘Speed Racer,’ coupled with one of the most popular super hero film franchises of all time in ‘The Dark Knight,’ provides us with a unique opportunity to create fun and innovative toys and games that bring the excitement and action of both films to life in a way that kids will love and remember.”
The green flag drops on May 9th when Speed Racer makes his big screen debut in the newest project from writer/directors Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of the groundbreaking “The Matrix” trilogy, and producer Joel Silver. A live-action, high-octane family adventure based on the classic series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida, the big-screen Speed Racer will follow the adventures of the young race car driver Speed (Emile Hirsch) in his quest for glory in his thundering Mach 5. It will feature other characters that fans of the show will remember, including Mom (Susan Sarandon) and Pops Racer (John Goodman), girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) and his mysterious arch-rival, Racer X (Matthew Fox).
“The Wachowski brothers said to me one day that they were always disturbed that their nieces and nephews could never see their movies. This was the first time all their friends, family and the kids in their lives could see one of their films. They wrote a pure family movie. It’s fun. It’s got great characters, great dialogue, and great stories,” said Silver.
Mattel will tap into the action, characters and storyline to bring the film to life across a broad number of their product lines. With Speed’s Mach 5 leading the way, the leading die-cast vehicle brand, Hot Wheels, will feature a wide assortment of die-cast vehicles, race sets and track sets based on the film. Tyco, the leading remote control vehicle brand, will put kids behind the wheel of the Mach 5 with R/C vehicles and racing sets. Radica, Mattel’s newly acquired games and electronics division, will put the action in the hands of kids through products that let them take the wheel, literally. Additionally, a line of Mattel games and puzzles will capture the film’s action through board games, puzzles and a special-edition UNO card game.
Speed Racer products are expected to begin arriving at retailers around the world beginning in late March 2008.
On July 18, 2008, The Dark Knight, the second Batman film from director Christopher Nolan, arrives in theaters. Batman (Christian Bale) raises the stakes in his war on crime in Nolan’s The Dark Knight. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker (Heath Ledger).
The Dark Knight producer, Charles Roven added: “Batman is an incredible franchise, and we are really excited about taking it to the next level with ‘The Dark Knight.’ Along with the Batmobile we are introducing a new vehicle, the Batpod, a new Batsuit and some classic characters in The Joker and Harvey Dent. We are confident that fans around the world will enjoy the increased action and the continuation of a great story and we hope they appreciate the integrity and respect we’ve shown for this iconic character.”
For their film-inspired product lines, Mattel will utilize the multiple elements introduced in The Dark Knight. A new Batsuit, a new vehicle in the form of the Batpod and multiple key action scenes that set the stage for inspired play. Mattel’s action figure line will feature Batman and the new Batsuit. Tyco R/C vehicles bring to life the speed and action of the Batmobile and the new Batpod. An entire line of action play items will allow boys to role-play being The Dark Knight. Additionally, Mattel will release a line of games and puzzles that will capture the film action through board games, puzzles and a special-edition UNO card game.
Products based on The Dark Knight are expected to begin arriving at retailers around the world beginning in early June 2008.
Source: Warner Bros. Consumer Products