Family-based production outfit Waterman Entertainment has secured the feature rights to the iconic comic strip character Heathcliff, it was announced today by the companys Head of Development, Cooper Waterman. Waterman made the deal directly with rights holder, Peter Gallagher.
Their track record is impeccable. ‘Casper’, ‘Stuart Little’ and ‘Alvin’ are examples of incorporating elements that past audiences loved and adding a contemporary flair that makes these properties endure with a whole new generation. That is exactly what I was looking to achieve with ‘Heathcliff’. We want our existing fans to identify with the characters they know while introducing him to an entirely new audience. As a creator I know that they will be attentive to our lasting vision for the brand and welcome our input, which is very important to me, said Gallagher.
The acquisition comes on the heels of the company making similar feature film deals with rights holders of the iconic family brands including The Brave Little Toaster and Mr. Ed. As is the case with those titles, Heathcliff will be reimagined as a CGI/live action film with contemporary storylines, while preserving the original essence that the respective rights holders created for each of the characters.
Waterman commented, When working in concert with the creators and rights holders, you are able to tap their wealth of knowledge on the character and ensure the storylines remain true to the brand and their global fan base. This will allow us to confidently present Heathcliff to a new generation and excite fans with new stories and plots.
Additionally, Waterman Entertainment retains global licensing and merchandising rights to Heathcliff which they will leverage through producing thirteen original episodes of the wisecracking cats adventures for television. Toaster, Ed and Heathcliff represent an arsenal of existing and successful family brands that can be developed into live action/CGI feature film properties. Furthermore, the company is committed to finding iconic properties that can be revived for a new generation of fans and exploit their ancillary viability on platforms including television, mobile, digital, literary, and merchandising.
Steve Waterman, who founded and manages the company along with his sons Tucker and Cooper, has served as an Executive Producer on theatrical features including Casper with Universal; the Alivn and the Chipmunks films with 20th Century Fox; and the Stuart Littlefilms with Columbia Pictures, among other credits.