SONY PICTURES CONSUMER PRODUCTS SENDS BANDAI AMERICA ON A
JET-POWERED ADVENTURE AS MASTER TOY LICENSEE FOR "ASTRO BOY(tm)"
Accessories, Apparel, Bedding and Publishing Licensees Also Announced
CULVER CITY, CA - September 22, 2003 - Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) has named Bandai America Incorporated as the master toy licensee (worldwide excluding Asia) for the highly anticipated Sony Pictures Television animé series "Astro Boy","which is set to blast-off on the #1 kid's network, Kids' WB! in early 2004. SPCP has also announced partnerships with numerous industry-leading licensees for all key categories: Accessories, Apparel, Bedding, and Publishing.
"Astro Boy brings together two of the hottest trends in licensing today - retro and animé - and we're very excited that he is coming back to television with an all new anime series on Kids' WB!," stated Al Ovadia, executive vice president, Sony Pictures Consumer Products. "We're especially excited to have Bandai America on board as our master toy licensee. They are clearly the industry leader in developing product lines based on animé properties and their early work with Astro Boy is absolutely on target for this world renowned cultural icon."
"As the first Japanese animé property to be introduced in the U.S. in the 1960s, Astro Boy's storyline has a timeless quality that will appeal to both new fans and to the strong collector community eagerly awaiting the return of this super-charged robot," said Michael Riley, vice president of marketing, Bandai America Inc. "We look forward to leveraging our successes in the action figure category to work closely with Sony to re-launch this historic property."
Bandai America will produce an extensive line of "Astro Boy" toys and games, including articulated and non-articulated action figures, vehicles, role-play items (excluding costumes, masks and accessories), character-shaped walkie talkie's, collector trading cards, trading card games and playsets, including some with moldable clay. Product is expected to roll out at retail fall 2004. Bandai America will support its toy line with a comprehensive marketing campaign that will include national TV and print advertising, promotions, online support, outreach to fans at anime conventions, and tie-ins with Sony and Kids' WB!
Sony Pictures Consumer Products has also announced deals with following key industry-leading licensees for the following categories:
Fashion Accessories (United States) - Bags, backpacks, luggage and accessories, rainwear, lunch kits, stationary and school supplies
Kids Headquarters (United States) - All sportswear sets and separates in all fabrications for Boy's 2-20; T-shirts (infant - 4T only); and Swimwear Giant (United States) - Boy's T-shirts sizes 4-20 and Adult and Young Men's T-shirts Freeze (United States) - Boys T-shirts 4-20
Dan River (United States and Canada) - Bed coverings (including comforters, bedspreads, duvets and quilts, sheets, sheet sets, pillow cases, bed skirts and pillow shams), window treatments, pillows, blankets, laundry bags and coordinating scatter rugs
HarperCollins (United States) - Color and activity books, 8x8's storybooks, beginning readers and chapter books
"Astro Boy" was created 50 years ago by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, the pioneer of Japanese animation (called anime) and known as the "father of manga" (Japanese comic books). In 1963, "Astro Boy" became the first Japanese show imported to the U.S. and one of the country's top-rated syndicated series. This beloved classic character has a rich and worldwide cult-hit following.
"Astro Boy" tells the story of a youthful robot boy - Astro - modeled after the deceased son of a research scientist, Dr. Tenma. Originally intended to be kept a secret, the atomic-powered robot becomes a reluctant superhero who fights for justice and peace for humans and robots alike.
Created in Metro City, he lives among a 'retro-futuristic' society populated by humans and robots. His creator Dr. Tenma, head of the Ministry of Science, builds Astro in his son's image. Astro never can fill the void that Dr. Tenma feels over the loss of his son. Tenma shuts down Astro, burns down the Ministry of Science and flees. Some time later, Astro is discovered by Dr. O'Shay, the new head of the Ministry. Dr. O'Shay takes in Astro and serves as his mentor. Driven by the belief that robots and humans should be friends, Dr. O'Shay is Astro's greatest ally. He provides Astro with a home, enrolls him in school and creates a robot family for him.
Astro possesses superb strength, including jet-rocket feet and arms that allow him to fly at extreme speeds. However, the secret to his victories is not his super-powers; the quality that makes him superior to other robots is his artificial brain, the most advanced in the world. This unique quality, termed kokoro in Japanese, allows Astro to experience all of the same emotions as humans. He's clever, resourceful and has a strong sense of justice, always attempting to reason with his adversaries. Mankind's only hope of surviving the onslaught of rebellious robots is a robot himself...the fearless, selfless, incorruptible champion known as Astro.
Potential new domestic licensees may contact Juli Boylan, ph: 310-244-4155, fax:310-244-1038; or for international licensing, Charlotte Hargreaves (Europe, Middle East, South Africa), ph: 0207-533-1476, fax: 0207-533-1477, or Lisa Storms (Asia Pacific, Latin America), ph: 310-244-4154, fax: 310-244-1039.
About Sony Pictures Television
Executive Producer Joe D'Ambrosia will supervise the transcreation of the series for the U.S. audience. "Astro Boy" is produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and Tezuka Productions, and distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Television.
Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. SPT produces and distributes top-rated, award-winning programming in every genre, including series, movies and family entertainment for network and cable television; first-run syndicated series; off-net syndicated programs; and theatrical releases. Animated series produced by SPT include "Jackie Chan Adventures" and the forthcoming "Astro Boy" for Kids' WB!; "Dragon Tales," co-produced with Sesame Workshop, for PBS's Ready to Learn block; "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and "Stuart Little" for HBO Family; and "Spider-Man" on MTV. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com
) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
About Bandai America Inc.
Bandai America Inc. is a subsidiary of Bandai America Co. Ltd., the third largest toy company in the world, with 27 subsidiaries in 8 countries worldwide. Global interests include toys and children's entertainment, video game software, multimedia, music, full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies and licensed apparel.
Bandai America Inc. is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the master toy licensee of some of the most popular properties and brands in children's toys and entertainment, including the Power Rangers, Gundam, Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty product lines. Bandai America is headquartered in Cypress, California and company information is available at Bandai America.com <http://www.bandai.com
About Sony Pictures Consumer Products
Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP), a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), is based in Los Angeles and London. SPCP handles the merchandising and branding efforts for some of the most recognized properties in film and television and, through Spider-Man Merchandising, L.P., a limited partnership with Marvel Enterprises, the upcoming motion picture Spider-Man 2(tm) and the "Spider-Man(tm)" animated series. Additionally, SPCP properties include such theatrical titles as the highly anticipated Underworld and Ultraviolet, the Academy Award winning short, The ChubbChubbs(tm), television properties such as "Astro Boy(tm)", "Stuart Little(tm)" animated, and "Jackie Chan Adventures(tm)." SPE is a division of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com