Determined to break into the movie biz, HIT Entertainment has tapped industry veteran Julia Pistor to head up a new division dedicated to mining its library of kids IPs to find good source material for family-oriented feature films. HIT Movies will also ID and develop new stories and characters for future theatrical releases.
HIT president and CEO Jeff Dunn and Pistor have a history of working together at Nickelodeon, where Pistor ran the movie division and was responsible for animated features Rugrats: The Movie and SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as live-action entries such as Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Nacho Libre.
‘My first question to Jeff was, ‘Are you willing to cut the umbilical cord and let us develop properties off these characters?” says Pistor. The answer had come in the form of a greenlight for a live-action Thomas & Friends movie, which Pistor says will stay true to the essence of Thomas while reinterpreting and adapting it for the theatrical space and a broader family audience. Now in the early stages of development, the film is slated to debut in theaters in June 2011. Also on deck for a big-screen transformation are Barney, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina and Rainbow Magic.
As part of the movie initiative, HIT has partnered with Beverly Hills-based United Talent Agency to get inside access to the entertainment, media and creative communities in Hollywood, as well as to help establish new brand extensions and corporate partnerships. KC