Irish animation house Cartoon Saloon has formed an ancillary rights division, hired a GM of licensing and merchandising and partnered with Dentsu Entertainment USA to take its original kids brands into the consumer products market, beginning with its latest 2D-animated feature Wolfwalkers (pictured).
Cartoon Saloon brand development will be run by Brian Tyrrell, the company’s newly appointed GM of licensing and merchandising. Dentsu USA, the LA-based rights management arm of Japanese media conglom Dentsu, will consult for the studio as it seeks L&M opps for Wolfwalkers and additional Cartoon Saloon properties across all consumer product categories. Extra focus will be placed on toys, publishing and live, experiential events.
Based on an original idea by Cartoon Saloon creative director Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and his longtime collaborator Ross Stewart (The Secret of Kells), Wolfwalkers tells the story of a young girl who arrives in Ireland, training to be a wolf hunter by her father. Moore and Stewart are co-directing off a script by Will Collins (Song of the Sea). It is co-produced by Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions, in association with Shenzhen, China-based V & P Media. Cartoon Saloon and Dentsu will present a sneak peek of the feature at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas next week.
Wolfwalkers was picked up by Apple last September for its soon-to-launch streaming service Apple TV+. It’s the first animated kids and family movie acquired by the SVOD, which is set to launch this fall. After Wolfwalkers, only Sesame Workshop’s new puppet series Helpsters, plus yet-to-be-announced live-action and animated series from Sesame and new exclusive Peanuts content from DHX Media, have been earmarked for the service.
While SVOD competitor Netflix has a burgeoning consumer products business led by global CP chief and former Disney exec Christie Fleischer, Apple TV+ has yet to reveal a licensing strategy for its own kids IP. As for the streamer’s potential L&M involvement with Wolfwalkers, a representative for Apple could not be reached and Cartoon Saloon declined to comment.
The AppleTV+ premiere date for the film has not been announced, but Wolfwalkers is getting theatrical releases in North America, France, Ireland, the UK, China and Japan in fall 2020.