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Atomic Cartoons to develop Mariachi Zombie

Vancouver, Canada-based Atomic Cartoons has signed on to develop original comedy Mariachi Zombie, and the company's VP of development dishes on developing age-appropriate toons, acquisitions and diversifying the company's slate.
July 15, 2015

Vancouver, Canada-based Atomic Cartoons has signed on to develop original animated comedy, Mariachi Zombie.

Planned as a 52 x 11-minute series, the show targets kids seven to 11 years old.

Atomic came across the cartoon by way of annual Mexican animation festival, El Festival. Created by Celso Garcia and Lorena Machuca of Guadalajara, Mexico-based prodco Lunch Media, the concept won the festival’s TV series pitch contest Ideatoon.

The  central character is the music-loving Mariachi Zombie, who is often interrupted by humans who wish to wipe out the zombie population.

“[Zombies] have a natural appeal to kids, but the unfortunate side is that most of the zombie content is not appropriate for kids. So this seems like a good time bring in something quirky in the zombie realm, and it has a fun musical component,” says Rob Davies, VP of development at Atomic Cartoons.

Still in the first stages of development, it isn’t yet known whether or not the show will be a Canada/Mexico co-production, as it would require a broadcaster commitment from both countries, says Davies. Currently there are no Canadian or Mexican broadcasters attached to the project, but the intention is for the series to be a co-production between Atomic and Lunch Media.

Davies also emphasizes that the company is in no rush to land a broadcast commitment, as a quick greenlight would be at odds with Atomic’s staggered release strategy for its properties.

We plan our rollouts fairly strategically so that our properties aren’t stepping on one another. We have intentions of rolling this out for MIPCOM, and if we bring [Mariachi Zombie] out too early, then it potentially conflicts with something that’s already in our catalog,” said Davies.

He says there are a couple of reasons for Atomic’s interest in the series.

“First of all, on the creative side, it’s something that appeals to us, and it’s a style of show that we feel we have a sensibility for,” says Davies. “There’s also the market motivation. For the time being at least, there seems to be a spot for seven- to 11-year old properties that can be geared toward more of a family and co-viewing audience.”

Atomic Cartoons, meanwhile, has been acquired by Vancouver-based prodco Thunderbird Films. The deal, announced last week, made sense from both sides, says Davies.  The primarily live-action focused Thunderbird had been looking to delve deeper into the animation space, while Atomic was also looking to expand its production remit.

“Up until this point, we’ve had no real illusions that we’re live-action producers,” he admits. “However, we have made a concerted effort to get into the hybrid space where we combine live action and animation – so that’s very interesting to us creatively.”

“On the business side, Thunderbird is a very well-respected and connected company that has some opens doors that we didn’t have,” Davies adds.

From Playback Online. 

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