As part of its strategy to generate new content for third-party digital and linear platforms, Viacom has struck a deal with Netflix to produce a pair of original animated feature films based on its hit series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Loud House.
The announcement—made today during Viacom’s Q1 earnings call—didn’t come with any details about titles, plotlines, voice casts or crews.
Shortly after launching its new cross-portfolio studio production business last year to license and create original first-run content for SVOD partners and other third parties, Nickelodeon inked an exclusive, multi-year partnership with Netflix on animated comedy series Pinky Malinky. Co-created and executive produced by Chris Garbutt and Rikke Asbjoern (The Amazing World of Gumball), the series launched on the streaming service in late 2018.
Then Nick cut a second deal with Netflix last September to adapt popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender as an exclusive live-action series that begins production this year.
As for Nick’s re-imagined Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this 2D-animated action-comedy series is executive produced by Ant Ward and Andy Suriano and bowed last September in the US. It is currently rolling out globally across the kidsnet’s channels and branded blocks in 170-plus countries and territories, and a second 26-ep season was ordered before the first season even launched. Rise finds the iconic turtle brothers in possession of new mystical powers as they set out on crime-fighting adventures in New York City with their human friend April O’Neil (Kat Graham).
Animated kids comedy The Loud House, meanwhile, is currently in its third season and remains centered on Lincoln Loud, the only boy in a house with 10 sisters. The show continues to be a ratings hit and remains groundbreaking in its introduction of the kidsnet’s first married gay couple.
To recap other Viacom news, the company acquired US streaming service PlutoTV last month for US$340 million. And it posted lower-than-forecasted revenue—a 1% increase to US$3.09 billion—for fiscal first quarter.
Despite the flat result and decreased advertising earnings, filmed entertainment revenue grew from US$14 million to US$621 million, largely due to strong theatrical performances for Bumblebee and Instant Family. To date, Bumblebee has grossed more than US$450 million at the box office worldwide, reinvigorating the whole Transformers franchise.
Looking ahead in 2019 and 2020, Viacom’s revitalization of Paramount Pictures will rely more heavily on upcoming kids and family films, including this March’s Wonder Park (formerly Amusement Park) from Paramount Animation. A film adaptation of Nick series Henry Danger is also in the works, as is the third movie installment of SpongeBob SquarePants, which is being overseen by the studio’s newly hired EVP, ex-DreamWorks producer Ramsey Naito.