Hello Kitty is finally getting a U.S. big screen adventure as New Line Cinema, Sanrio and FlynnPicturesCo. team up to develop a new animated movie based on the merchandising juggernaut.
The movie is being made for English language audiences. It is the first ever movie deal for Hello Kitty outside of Japan in the franchise's strong 45 year history. Sanrio has also granted first time film rights for other popular characters that include Gudetama, My Melody, Little Twin Stars and more from the expansive universe.
Hello Kitty is being produced by FlynnPictureCo's Beau Flynn and executive produced by Wendy Jacobson, and we could see Hello Kitty expanded into her own cinematic universe. Hello Kitty began life in 1974 as a very popular coin purse. In just one year's time, the cat was a worldwide phenomenon, spread across 130 countries and featuring more than 50,000 branded products each year since.
New Line will have to come up with a proper narrative story for Hello Kitty and all of her friends. Sanrio founder, President and CEO Shintaro Tsuji had this to say in a statement.
"I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut. Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world."
Here's what Richard Brener, President and Chief Creative Officer, and Carolyn Blackwood, President and Chief Content Officer, New Line Cinema, had to express in a joint statement.
"We are thrilled to partner with Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. on developing a film based on this treasured icon. It's a rare privilege to have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of such timeless IP. Hello Kitty and her friends have been part of our shared culture for decades, and we look forward to exploring where her newest adventure will take her."
CEO of FlynnPictureCo.Beau Flynn threw in his two cents.
"Hello Kitty has been one of the most beloved characters around the world for the last forty-plus years. We're incredibly honored that President Tsuji has entrusted us with the responsibility of bringing her story to the big screen globally for the first time ever, and it's a dream that we get to do this with our long-term partners at New Line and Warner Bros. With the positive and family-oriented values that Hello Kitty and Sanrio embody, there has never been a better time than now to share her message with the world!"
No release date has been announced by New Line, so it might not be until 2021 or 2022 the Hello Kitty makes her presence known at the local cinemaplex. The animated feature is guaranteed to be at least a modest success right out of the gate, with millions of fans worldwide. Right now, Hello Kitty is the second biggest merchandising franchise in the entire world only behind Pokemon. Star Wars is in 5th place, with Harry Potter in 10th place, and the MCU in 11th. Hello Kitty doesn't even have a movie yet, so we think it will do okay. Deadline dropped this news off first.