Thomas the Tank Engine is headed for the big screen. HIT Entertainment has hired screenwriter Josh Klausner (Shrek the Third) to write a script for a feature based on “Thomas & Friends,” created by the Rev. W.V. Awdry in the 1940s.
“‘Thomas & Friends’ is a phenomenally successful and versatile brand that appeals to children and families worldwide,” said Julia Pistor, who heads Hit Movies. “Generations of children have grown up with the adventures of ‘Thomas & Friends’ with its storytelling tradition, positive values, timeless lessons and rich train history. We look forward to working with Josh Klausner to translate the classic ‘Thomas & Friends’ stories into a thrilling, big, modern adventure movie.”
Thomas represents the world’s most popular preschool property, with more than 100 million books and wooden train accessories sold globally. HIT plans a new CGI animated TV series for next year (Thomas’ 65th birthday) that will for the first time provide voices for Thomas, Percy, James, Toby and the rest, and the new film project — a mix of live-action and CGI — is slated for a spring 2011 release.
“Rev. Awdry’s robust characters and stories continue to stand the test of time,” Klausner said, “and I am excited to play a role in sending off Thomas and his friends on a new, exciting adventure.”