London-based Entertainment Rights (ER), a leading media firm in the ownership and distribution of children's and family entertainment, has some good news and some bad news. ER has a distribution deal with Mattel Inc. for U.K. rights to the next Barbie CGI feature, BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE, but has also announced that Mattel will not be renewing the licensing agreement with ER subsidiary Link Licensing for the U.K. representation of certain non-doll Barbie merchandise and publications.
First the good news, upon the success of handling the distribution on BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER and BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL, ER will also be championing BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE in the UK. Previously, the rights firm garnered deals that had the first two films airing on all the major European and Asian broadcasters including Super RTL in Germany, M6 in France, Mediaset in Italy, TVB Hong Kong, SBS Korea and Network 7 in Australia. In addition, ER handled the DVD and video sales outside the U.S., racking up 2.6 million units shipped for BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER and over 1.1 million for BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL.
Mike Heap, ceo of Entertainment Rights Plc., said, "The success of the previous Barbie films has been unprecedented and we are delighted to be working with Mattel on BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE. We are positive that this film will be a must have for girls everywhere."
The film will be based on the music of Tchaikovsky and Pepitov's original story, starring Barbie as Odette, the young baker's daughter who follows a unicorn into the Enchanted Forest and is transformed into a swan by Rothbart, an evil wizard. The CGI picture features the voices of Kesley Grammer (FRASIER) and Maggie Wheeler (FRIENDS). Mainframe Entertainment in Vancouver will handle the computer animation on SWAN LAKE.
Artisan Home Entertainment will release the VHS and DVD in the U.S. in late September 2003. The first two titles sold about 6 million copies and Americans spent about $100 million in rentals and purchases.
On the less than good side, Mattel has informed Link Licensing that it would be taking U.K. representation of certain non-doll Barbie licensed merchandise and publications in-house after a recent restructuring. The current deal with Link will expire on December 31, 2003.
ER feels that the loss of the deal with Mattel will not have a material impact on its profitability, due in part to the company's continued expansion and the recent focus shift on investment in their owned properties. For instance, THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW launched on the BBC in September of last year and is pulling in a 42% audience share amongst its target audience of 4-9 year olds. ER already has product deals for the show with Golden Bear for plush toys. Right Entertainment and Right Records will be releasing home entertainment products and an album respectively in fall 2003. In addition, POSTMAN PAT has performed well for the company ever since its debut in 1981 and the first product rollout begins later this year with a direct-to-video and DVD special from Right Entertainment and plush toys from Martin Yaffee.
Entertainment Rights Plc. is one of the U.K.'s leading media companies specializing in the ownership, development, distribution and merchandising of children's and family programming, characters and brands. To learn more about the company and its holdings visit its Website at www.entertainmentrights.com. Mattel, Inc., is a publicly owned worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Included in their list of brands are Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, American Girl , Tyco R/C, Scrabble, as well as all the Fisher-Price brands. For more check out www.mattel.com.