Magi-Nation gets a tube transformation
Trading on the market heat demonstrated by sales of US$5.5 million in two years, Seattle-based Interactive Imagination is ready to take its Magi-Nation collectible card game property to the next level. The company has signed on L.A.-based Keller Entertainment and Pastis Entertainment to develop, finance and produce a 26 x half-hour 2-D/3-D series based on the mystical game.
Targeting the six to 12 set, the action-adventure toon will center around a tribe of ancient people who can transform their dreams into fantastic creatures and magical artifacts that exist in reality. Twelve-year-old Tony Jones, a reluctant hero from a distant Earth-like world, must help save the inhabitants of Magi-Nation from an primeval enemy that seeks to upset the balance between good and evil that is the civilization’s foundation.
In development with a per-episode budget of between US$300,000 and US$400,000, Magi-Nation is on track for a fall 2003 delivery. The co-pro trio is looking for a distributor for the series and was closing a deal with partners in France and Canada at press time. Existing product that should help hype the show’s launch includes a line of books (novels, comics, strategy guides and school workbooks), a Game Boy Color title that has sold 25,000 units since its February 2000 launch, as well as the card game itself, toys (plush and collectibles), apparel and a website.
Wolfmill uses girls’ love of horses to drive web strip to TV
Tapping into equestrian chic to attract girls six to 12, Wolfmill Entertainment is developing a live-action adaptation of a weekly on-line comic strip called Ponytailers. More than 20 strips are currently available at www.agirlsworld.com, which attracts more than six million unique visitors per month.
The TV series (26 half hours) will star three 12-year-old girls who have grown up together in a small town that’s deeply immersed in horse and farming culture. The live-actioner will address typical pre-teen issues like bonding, relationships and competition, the latter playing higher on the list since the girls compete in horse events as well as for the attention of local boys. Some story lines for the series will likely stem from the weekly web strips, one of which centers around a horse show the actress mother of one of the girls decides to put on for the neighborhood kids. Things go awry when someone attempts to sabotage the event and an embezzling plot is uncovered. The girls turn into mounted sleuths and must figure out who’s behind the mess to save the day.
The budget for Ponytailers will be around US$350,000 per half hour, and the series is being targeted for international distribution. A bible should be ready by the end of this month to show to potential partners.
Bardel takes flight with a winged book trilogy
Borrowing a page from the Harry Potter playbook, Vancouver-based Bardel Entertainment is working on a 2-D/3-D kids action-drama series based on the best-selling Silverwing book trilogy by Canadian author Kenneth Oppal. Silverwing (first published in 1997 by HarperCollins) and its sequel Sunwing have sold more that 600,000 copies worldwide to date. And when Firewing, the third tome in the series, came out in April, it broke the Harry Potter stranglehold on the number-one spot on Canada’s children’s and youth fiction bestseller list.
Silverwing the TV series tells the story of a spunky young bat who accidentally gets separated from his colony while migrating south for the winter. He sets out on a personal odyssey to find himself and his family, befriending another orphan bat (Marina Brightwing) and thwarting an assassination plot put forth by a colony of vampire bats along the way.
With a per-ep budget of between US$275,000 and US$375,000, the 13 x half-hour show targets kids eight to 14 and will start running on Canada’s Teletoon in fall 2003. TV and video distribution rights are available for all territories except Canada, and it’s open season on the merchandising rights.