Paris, France’s Futurikon can check the U.S. off its list of potential broadcasters for the 2-D multimedia series, Dragon Hunters. Cartoon Network’s VP of acquisitions and co-productions Terry Kalagian has given the go-ahead for the 24 x half-hour series to make its American debut on the cablenet.
Aimed squarely at six- to 12-year-olds, the series follows the lives of two dragon slayers in a fantastical medieval future. The series airs in 10 countries, including France 3 and Canal J in France, Italy’s Rai, TSR in Switzerland and Belgium’s RTL. Although Dragon Hunters hit North American airwaves already on French-language pubnet Radio-Canada, the Cartoon Network deal is the program’s first English-language coup.
Futurikon’s chairman and CEO Philippe Delarue says he’s currently in negotiations with co-producers France 3 and Super RTL for a second season. And no small help is the fact that the series’ first airing garnered a 38% rating share of kids aged four to 10 for France 3′s Saturday morning kids block.
Delarue says its too early to tell where Cartoon Net will slot the action adventure comedy, but his team will be using the deal as a launching pad at Licensing Show in New York this month to secure merch deals across the pond. The series already enjoys strong European marketing and licensing backing – in addition to pairing up with McDonald’s on Happy Meals, Dragon Hunters has a comic book (Delacourt) and PC Game (Phenomedia) and is featured on merch such as bags (Lafuma) and footwear (LCL). Polydor/Universal plans to release the program’s theme song, performed by alterna-rock uber-band The Cure, in Germany and France later this year. A 3-D Dragon Hunters film is also in the works, and Futurikon is locking down the final stages of financing, with France’s Bac Films, Spain’s Filmax and Benelux’s Belgafilms signed on as distributors.