The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures will join forces to distribute the first all-CG-animated movie of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. The as-yet-untitled picture will be released early in 2007.
The movie will be directed by Kevin Munroe from his own screenplay, developed in consultation with Turtles co-creator Peter Laird. The film will be produced by Thomas K. Gray and Galen Walker. The exec producers are Francis Kao, Laird, Gary Richardson and Frederick U. Fierst. Worldwide merchandising rights for the movie will be exclusively represented by 4Kids Ent. Inc.
The two studios acquired the worldwide movie distribution rights from Imagi Animation Studios, who had obtained the production and distribution rights from the Mirage Group, which owns, nurtures and manages the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. The new CG-animated, PG-rated movie will derive its tone from the original comicbook series and will be slightly grittier than the previous live-action pictures. The animation will be created in Imagi's state-of-the art facility in Hong Kong.
The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie history began in the early 1990s, with three live-action films that grossed a cumulative total of more than $256 million domestically, adding to the entertainment phenomenon that spawned games, toys, costumes and a virtual Turtles industry. In 2003, the TURTLES returned to television after a five-year hiatus, now appearing on Cartoon Network and 4Kids TV on Fox in the U.S. and on major TV channels around the world. Additionally, the entertainment re-launch of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of worldwide retail sales of new licensed products, including an entirely new range of toys from longtime licensee Playmates Toys.
We are very happy to have obtained the rights to this new NINJA TURTLES movie, said Jeff Robinov, president of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. We think that a new generation of kids will love discovering the Turtles, especially supported by the enthusiasm of fans of the original movies, comic books and TV shows.
Re-introducing the Ninja Turtles in an animated movie will enable the filmmakers to fully realize the adventure and humor of the property, said Harvey Weinstein of the Weinstein Co.. We believe that there is a global audience for the Turtles and we're thrilled to be bringing them to their fans, old and new.
Imagi USA's president/ceo, Tom Gray, added, The Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures are ideal partners in this venture, and I am extremely pleased to be working with them. Their marketing and distribution expertise will bring the Turtles to a whole new generation of fans.