Hasbro and Mattel aren’t the only toycos with designs on building their proprietary toys into entertainment franchises. Creative Artists Agency acting on behalf of toy toilers Rumpus Toys recently inked a co-production deal with Hartbreak Films (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) to develop a TV show and a feature film based on Rumpus’s plush toy, Monster in My Closet. According to Jeff Roda, VP of the New York-based toyco, the two companies haven’t finalized the format for the show or the film, but he says he expects they will have completed the TV pilot, about a friendly monster who lives in a child’s closet and fights off evil monsters, by the spring of 2001. At this stage, Roda says the company hasn’t decided whether it will develop a licensing program around the property.
For Rumpus, which in the past has used Web-based programming to generate exposure for its toys, the deal will allow it to promote the Rumpus brand on a much a larger scale.
‘As great as the Internet is, and however much it may represent the future of entertainment, right now the majority of kids are watching TV, and we have to respect that,’ says Roda.
Roda says Rumpus will continue to create Web content that ties in with its toys, including the company’s second full-length animated feature, The Day I Saved America, which it will make available on its site, rumpus.com, on July 4.