4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE) 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(TM) CGI-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 CGI-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 CGI-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(TM) - 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.
About 4Kids Entertainment
Headquartered in New York City with international offices in London, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE) is a global provider of children's entertainment and merchandise licensing. 4Kids, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, provides domestic and international merchandise licensing; television, film, music and home video production and distribution; media planning and buying; product development; and Web site development. For further information, visit the Company's Web sites at www.4KidsEntertainment.com
About Playmates Toys
With more than thirty-five years of experience, Playmates Toys, Inc., is among the most well respected and innovative marketing and distribution companies in the global toy industry. Playmates has a proven history in the creation of profitable, long-term brand franchises.
Among the company's best-known proprietary brands are the unique water-filled "Water Babies(R)" dolls that have sold more than 15 million units, "Speedeez(TM)" micro vehicles and play sets and the "Amazing" brand of interactive dolls and plush toys. Core licensed character and entertainment brands include Disney(R) Princesses and classic characters, Universal Studios'/Peter Jackson's "King Kong," Nickelodeon's "everGirl," Breakthrough Entertainment's production of the Cartoon Network's television series "Atomic Betty" and Mirage Studios' "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." From its offices in Hong Kong, China and the United States, Playmates designs, develops, markets and distributes its products in over sixty countries worldwide. Playmates Toys, Inc., is a division of Playmates Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based company whose stock is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The information contained in this press release, other than historical information, consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Important factors beyond the Company's control, including general economic conditions, consumer spending levels, competition from toy companies, motion picture studios and other licensing companies, the uncertainty of public response to the Company's properties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations.