After a 40-Year Wait, a Hello Kitty film is coming from New Line Cinema
The Hollywood Reporter has brought word that New Line Cinema has become the first Hollywood film studio to acquire the rights to Sanrio’s multi-billion dollar cartoon franchise, Hello Kitty, with which the studio has begun development on a film.
The cartoon character, created by Yuko Shimizu in 1974, has appeared in various video games, animated series and movies, comic books and even an album centered around her. It is the second highest-grossing media franchise of all time, having grossed over $50 billion as of 2018.
Even with her international success across all platforms, Sanrio has been very protective of the film rights to the titular character over the four decades, but New Line’s deal with the Japanese company is a landmark for the industry.
“I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut” Shintaro Tsuji, Sanrio founder, said in a statement. “Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world.”
Though it hasn’t been announced whether the film will be a live-action or animated adaptation, the studio is currently searching for writers while Beau Flynn will produce and Wendy Jacobson will executive produce the project.
“With the positive and family-oriented values that Hello Kitty and Sanrio embody, there has never been a better time than now to share her message with the world!” Flynn said.
The Hello Kitty adaptation will also mark New Line Cinema’s first foray into family-friendly fare in over a decade, with the majority of their 2010s renaissance consisting of horror movies including the hit Conjuring franchise and its spinoffs and the acclaimed modern adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It, which will have a second part hit theaters on September 6.
“We are thrilled to partner with Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. on developing a film based on this treasured icon. It’s a rare privilege to have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of such timeless IP,” New Line’s Richard Brener and Carolyn Blackwood said in a joint statement.