Los Angeles (November 14, 2008) â€“ Imagi Studios announced today that it has signed worldwide licensing agreements with IDW Publishing, American Greetings, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Jazwares Inc., and D3Publisher for Astro Boy, its upcoming CG-animated film based on the adventures of the superhero icon. The studioâ€™s agreement with American Greetings also extends to future Imagi films. Astro Boy, slated for domestic release on October 23, 2009, is being distributed worldwide by Summit Entertainment except for Imagiâ€™s reserved territories of Japan, Hong Kong and China.
â€œThe strategic partnerships with these product category leaders speak volumes about Astro Boy and its reach to fans of all ages around the world,â€ said Erin Corbett, President, Imagi Studios U.S. â€œIn addition, the ongoing relationship with American Greetings reflects a shared vision for the enduring appeal of our upcoming titles and the characters that bring them to life.â€
â€œThe suite of promotions that has formed in support of the worldwide roll out of this wonderful family film is extraordinary,â€ said Nancy Kirkpatrick, President of Worldwide Marketing for Summit Entertainment. â€œThe blue-chip partners on board are a testament to a high level of early anticipation for this animated adventure.â€
American Greetings, one of the worldâ€™s largest creators, manufacturers and distributors of social expression products, will create items such as greeting cards, stationery, gift wrap and party goods inspired by Imagi properties.
â€œImagi’s upcoming films include an array of beloved characters with terrific storylines, which lend themselves perfectly for consumers to celebrate through a number of product formats within the social expression category,â€ said Michael Brown, VP of Licensing, American Greetings Corporation. â€œWe are excited to be embarking on a long-term alliance with Imagi Studios.â€
The innovative childrenâ€™s toy and activity company Jazwares will be the master toy licensee for Astro Boy.
Penguin, one of the worldâ€™s largest trade book publishers, will introduce a full range of Astro Boy publications.
In addition, IDW Publishing will support Astro Boy with comic book and graphic novel titles inspired by the film.
Imagi has also partnered with interactive entertainment software leader D3Publisher to publish and distribute Astro Boy game software.
â€œWeâ€™re thrilled at the prospect of both building the Astro Boy brand and further developing our relationship with Imagi,â€ said Bill Anker, VP of Business Development and Licensing, North America and Europe, D3P. â€œOur agreement is an excellent complement to our portfolio and the Astro Boy videogame will be a new way for fans, as well as gamers, to experience this renowned character.â€
Imagi Studios and Summit Entertainment, the distributor for Astro Boy, also concurrently announced global marketing partnerships with Striker Entertainment as the exclusive licensing agent for the Astro Boy movie while Rogers & Cowan will serve as the promotional agency.
Licensing veterans Russell Binder and Marc Mostman, working together under the Striker Entertainment banner, will deliver a full-fledged consumer products program on a worldwide basis to mass-market consumers with focus on the core six-to-14 demographic.
Striker Entertainmentâ€™s Russell Binder said: â€œImagi delivers exceptionally high-quality CG animation with a ton of entertainment value that should naturally translate to toys, videogames, publishing and other key categories. Imagiâ€™s production style, coupled with the global iconic character of Astro Boy, perpetrates a â€˜perfect stormâ€™ entertainment brand.â€
Rogers & Cowan, a leading entertainment public relations and marketing agency, will facilitate promotional partnerships for Astro Boy.
Tom Tardio, Rogers & Cowan CEO, said: â€œWe are thrilled to be working with Imagi Studios on this high-profile project. The family-friendly appeal of the Astro Boy film positions the franchise as a perfect promotional partner for consumer brands seeking to reach kids of all ages and their parents.â€
Set in the future, Imagi Studioâ€™s Astro Boy is a classic superhero origin story about a young robot with incredible powers and his adventure-filled journey in search of his identity and destiny, taking him into a netherworld of robot gladiators before he returns to save Metro City.
David Bowers (Flushed Away) is directing Astro Boy and Maryann Garger is the producer. The all-star cast is headed by Academy AwardÂ®-winning actor Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy and Donald Sutherland, with Freddie Highmore in the title role. Story is by David Bowers, and Timothy Harris (Kindergarten Cop, Trading Places) wrote the screenplay.
The iconic character Astro Boy has found global popularity since his creation in the early 1950s by Japanâ€™s Osamu Tezuka, known as the â€œgod of mangaâ€ and â€œfather of animeâ€, and has been the hero of three acclaimed animated television series aired around the world.