Hello Kitty Movie: New Line Hires Directors Jennifer Coyle & Leo Matsuda

Hello Kitty Movie: New Line hires directors Jennifer Coyle & Leo Matsuda

Nearly two years since we last heard an update on the upcoming Hello Kitty movie, Deadline brings word that New Line Cinema has finally found the right pair to head the production of their long-awaited live-action/animated hybrid film adaptation of the popular cartoon character. Jennifer Coyle and Leo Matsuda have been officially tapped to direct New Line’s long-in development Hello Kitty movie. Both filmmakers have years of experience in the animation industry, with Coyle previously working on hit animated shows such as Bob’s Burgers and Harley Quinn. Meanwhile, Matsuda began his career at Walt Disney Animation where he worked on several popular films such as Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

“[New Line] is extremely lucky to have found in Jennifer and Leo, two directors who not only share a profound connection to the unforgettable characters Shintaro Tsuji and Sanrio have created over the past 40-plus years with Hello Kitty and her friends, but also have the imagination, talent and heart to bring this iconic world to life on the big screen.” New Line’s Richard Brener said in a statement.

This project marks Coyle and Matsuda’s first collaboration and first high-profile feature as directors. The film adaptation is being penned by Lindsey Beer, who is also the scribe for upcoming films such as Masters of the Universe and Godzilla vs. Kong.

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“This is not only a rare chance to bring a beloved character to life, but also to spread the message of love, friendship and inclusivity that Hello Kitty stands for. The world so needs her brand of joy and happiness.” Coyle said.

Matsuda added, “Growing up in Brazil with a Japanese family, I was surrounded by the whimsy of Hello Kitty and it served as a reminder that it’s okay to be different. Along with Jen, FlynnPictureCo. and New Line, I am delighted by this incredible opportunity to work with one of the most universally beloved characters and expand their relatable Sanrio stories even further.”

Hello Kitty, 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 inked a deal with the Japanese company that was seen as a landmark for the industry.

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The Hello Kitty adaptation will be produced by Beau Flynn with Wendy Jacobson set as its executive producer. FlynnPictureCo. will oversee the project along with New Line’s Richard Brener, Celia Khong, and Paulina Sussman. Known Universe has also boarded to executive produced.

This marks 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, as well as the acclaimed modern adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)