Press Release from HIT Entertainment
New York, NY - May 17, 2010 - HIT Entertainment, a leading provider of quality children's entertainment and owner of the world's number 1 pre-school brand - Thomas & Friends - is sending everyone's favorite true blue engine full steam ahead with celebrations from coast to coast to honor 65 years of making tracks to great destinations.
The first major component of his U.S. celebration includes a partnership with Minor League Baseball and Celebration Foods. Celebration Foods and the beloved Carvel ice cream cake brand are the Presenting Sponsor of Thomas' 65th Anniversary, activating exciting retail programs this spring and summer, as well as joining Thomas for events at MiLB games. Thomas & Friends title nights take place with 22 Minor League Baseball teams between May 15 and June 30. Activities may include a special sneak peek of upcoming Thomas & Friends movies, photo opportunities for kids and free Thomas goodies. Celebration Foods will serve as the exclusive Thomas partner for these events and will offer free Carvel ice cream cake samples and coupons to fans at the games. Celebration Foods will also extend promotion of the 65th anniversary at grocery retailers by running free consumer offers at select regional stores. Minor League Baseball and its participating teams will feature Thomas & Friends on their website.
Also, celebrating "65 on 6/5," Six Flags Entertainment will host Thomas birthday parties at park locations with Thomas Towns, including Six Flags New England in Springfield, MA; Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vajello, CA; Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta; Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, CA and the all-new Thomas Town at Six Flags America in Baltimore/Washington, D.C. which also will host its Grand Opening on June 5, 2010. These parties will feature entertainment, activities for kids, visits from Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor and special giveaways of Thomas goodies. Global partner Mega Bloks will donate a giant replica of Thomas made out of Mega Bloks to every Thomas Town and will challenge guests to guess how many blocks make up Thomas! Select parks will also feature a screening area showcasing the all-new DVD, Thomas & Friends: The Greatest Stories, released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment as part of the 65th Anniversary celebration. The special edition 2-disc set contains a collection of 20 beloved Thomas & Friends stories, including the first-ever episode and 18 bonus features.
On Friday June 4, The Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout
will celebrate Thomas' birthday live on air with a Thomas birthday card presentation. The Thomas birthday celebration continues throughout the weekend with a special broadcast of the Thomas & Friends movie, The Great Discovery on June 5 and 6. In addition, Sprout will do a special sweepstakes of Thomas & Friends Activity Express sets from Golden Books (Random House), Thomas & Friends: The Great Discovery DVDs (Lionsgate), and Thomas cuddle pillows (Jay Franco), on SproutForParents.com.
Day Out With Thomas(tm), the grassroots tour which visits heritage railroads around the country, is themed 'The Celebration Tour' for 2010 and will mark the 65th anniversary with special celebratory events. Children can make birthday cards for Thomas and families can enjoy a special display highlighting the history of Thomas over the past 65 years.
"Since the first Thomas book was published 65 years ago, the #1 true blue engine has stood for shared experiences between parents and children," said EJ Minor, Vice President, Marketing, HIT Entertainment US. "With our celebrations across the country - at Minor League Baseball games, Six Flags Amusement Parks and Day Out With Thomas Events -- we honor these family moments. Families can enjoy beloved summer pastimes together with Thomas while creating their own lasting memories and traditions for generations to come."
About Celebration Foods
Celebration Foods is the marketer, manufacturer and distributor of leading high quality ice cream desserts for all occasions, including, Carvel, OREO, M&M'S and SNICKERS ice cream cake desserts. Headquartered in New Britain, CT, Celebration Foods is the market leader in the ice cream and ice milk frozen desserts category with a 56% market share and distribution now reaching over 49 states in over 10,000 leading supermarkets, super centers, and club stores. For more information on Celebration Foods visit www.celebrationfoods.com .
About Carvel Ice Cream Cakes
The United States' first retail ice cream franchise, Carvel Ice Cream has become one of the best-loved and most recognized names in its industry. The company is a leading provider of premium soft serve and hand dipped ice cream products, as well as uniquely shaped ice cream cakes, including its signature Fudgie the Whale and Cookie Puss cakes. Atlanta-based Carvel currently operates approximately 500 franchised and food service locations, and is a part of FOCUS Brands, Inc. <http://www.focusbrands.com/> the franchisor of Carvel Ice Cream <http://www.carvel.com/>, Cinnabon <http://www.cinnabon.com/>, Schlotzsky's <http://www.schlotzskys.com/>, Moe's Southwest Grill <http://www.moes.com/> and Seattle's Best Coffee on military bases and in certain international markets.
Minor League Baseball is the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean that are affiliated with Major League Baseball through their farm systems. The Minor League Baseball Office is located in St. Petersburg, Fla. With 176 teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico, fans are coming out in unprecedented numbers to this one-of-kind experience that can only be found at our ballparks. From the electricity in the stands to the excitement on the field, Minor League Baseball has provided affordable family-friendly entertainment to people of all ages since its founding in 1901. In 2009, over 41.6 million baseballs fans went through the turnstiles to see the future stars of the sport hone their skills at Minor League Baseball ballparks. With Minor League Baseball, "It's Fun to be a Fan!" For more information about Minor League Baseball, visit http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com .
About Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is a publicly-traded corporation headquartered in New York City and is the world's largest regional theme park company with 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada.
PBS KIDS Sprout, the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for kids ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers, was created as a partnership among Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop. Since debuting its video on demand (VOD) service in April 2005, Sprout has become the #1 On Demand service for younger children, and is on track to reach one billion orders in 2010. The 24-hour digital channel, which launched in September 2005 along with the website (SproutOnline.com), is the only channel that follows the day of child from breakfast to bedtime with its distinctive programming. Currently, Sprout is available in 50 million unique households.
The network's program lineup of gold-standard, curriculum-based children's shows includes: Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, Barney & Friends, The Wiggles, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Caillou, The Berenstain Bears, Dragon Tales, Make Way For Noddy, Fireman Sam, Fifi and the Flowertots, dirtgirlworld and more.
About MEGA Brands
MEGA Brands is a trusted family of leading global brands in construction toys, games & puzzles, arts & crafts and stationery. They offer engaging creative experiences for children and families through innovative, well-designed, affordable and high-quality products. Visit http://www.megabrands.com  for more information.
The MEGA logo, Mega Bloks, Rose Art, MagNext and Board Dudes are trademarks of MEGA Brands Inc. or its affiliates.
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF - News) is the leading next generation studio with a strong and diversified presence in the production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has nearly 20 shows on 10 different networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as "Mad Men," "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" along with new series such as "Blue Mountain State" and the syndication successes "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," its spinoff "Meet The Browns" and "The Wendy Williams Show."
Its feature film business has generated such recent hits as TYLER PERRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, the action film KICK-ASS, which opened at #1 at the North American box office and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which has garnered nearly $50 million at the North American box office and won two Academy Awards. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 7% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 12,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights-owners. HIT's portfolio includes properties, such as Barney, Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Pingu, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina and Rainbow Magic. HIT represents Chapman Entertainment's Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car in North America as well as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Timmy Time and Aardman Classics from Aardman Animations. HIT also acts as representative for The Wiggles in the UK. Launched in 1989, HIT's lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. HIT is a part-owner of US-based preschool channel, PBS KIDS Sprout, and international preschool channel JimJam, (outside of the US, UK and China). For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com .