Chorion recruits a few good Mr. Men
Hoping to replicate the international success of Enid Blyton preschool brand Noddy, London-based IP brewery Chorion has acquired a coveted classic literary property in Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men and Little Misses. Chorion bought all the rights to the book franchise’s 79 characters (including Mr. Silly and Little Miss Naughty) for just under US$50 million from owners The Hargreaves Organization and Mr. Films. Adam Hargreaves, Roger Hargreaves’ son and the current author of the book series, will join Chorion as a creative consultant on the brand. Chorion plans to create a new 2-D animated TV series based around the characters, as well as managing a merchandise program currently worth around US$231 million. To date, more than 100 million Mr. Men books have sold worldwide, and the characters have appeared in 175 TV episodes produced over the years by Mr. Films.
IDT buys manga studio and hooks up with comic book creative legend Stan Lee
Still on an acquisitions roll, Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Entertainment has bought London-based producer Manga Entertainment, which specializes in anime production. Look for the studio’s 300-title library to pepper IDT subsidiary Anchor Bay’s home entertainment release slate.
The Manga buy was closed while the ink was still drying on another IDT deal – this one for a minority equity interest in Spider-Man creator Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. The deal gives IDT exclusive distribution rights for all of POW!’s animated DVD properties, which will be distributed by Anchor Bay. Lee also plans to create original characters for six new 3-D animated projects in a series called Stan Lee Presents, which will be co-developed and produced with IDT Entertainment using the company’s proprietary Global Animation Studio software. The new series will be released over the next three years on DVD, with IDT looking to sign broadcast deals as well.