4Kids & Playmates Team on Ninja Turtles Products

4Kids Entertainment, Inc. announced that it will handle exclusive worldwide merchandising rights and Playmates Toys announced that it will develop an innovative toy line for the all-new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CG-animated feature film expected to be released in early 2007. The Mirage Group, the group of companies that owns the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, had licensed the film animation rights to Imagi Animation Studios. Imagi has reached agreement with The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures for those companies to distribute the Turtles movie.

“The all-new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie is an exciting opportunity for the brand,” said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. “To have Playmates Toys on board will guarantee a unique and innovative line of toys for all Turtles fans. Since its re-launch, the Turtles have enjoyed tremendous success as a television series and at retail, which we expect will continue as the Turtles head for the big screen. 4Kids Entertainment will continue to extend and build the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ licensing program globally based on the upcoming movie with both existing and new licensees.”

“We are thrilled that the new Turtles film is attached to The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures – and we look forward to strengthening our long-term relationship with 4Kids Entertainment,” said Michael Rinzler, Director of Boys Marketing for Playmates Toys.

Already a major worldwide success at retail, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys by Playmates Toys are distributed in more than 45 countries, and the action figures rank among the top sellers at major retailers around the globe. “We are anxious to get started on the development of movie-based toys that will engage fans and build even more excitement surrounding the brand,” said Rinzler.

“4Kids and Playmates are the perfect partners for Mirage to be working with to fully realize the excitement that the new CG-animated film will deliver for TMNT fans of all ages,” said Gary Richardson, CEO of The Mirage Group.

The film will be produced by Thomas K. Gray, who produced two of the earlier Turtles films, and Galen Walker – and be directed by Kevin Munroe from his own screenplay, developed in consultation with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ co-creator Peter Laird. The executive producers are Francis Kao, Peter Laird, Gary Richardson and Frederick U. Fierst. This new CG-animated, PG-rated movie will derive its tone from the original Mirage comic book series, appealing to legions of Turtle fans, old and new alike. The CG animation will be created in Imagi Animation Studios’ state-of-the-art facility in Hong Kong.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ motion picture history began in the early 1990s, with three live-action films that grossed a cumulative total of $256,196,337 domestically, adding to the entertainment phenomenon that spawned games, toys, and a virtual Turtles industry. In 2003, the Turtles returned to television after a five-year hiatus, now appearing on 4Kids TV – 4Kids Entertainment’s Saturday morning programming block on FOX – and Cartoon Network in the U.S., and on major TV channels around the world. Additionally, the re-launch of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of worldwide sales of new licensed products.

Source: 4Kids Entertainment, Inc.