Imagi Announces Distribution Agreement with Wowwee for Gatchaman and Astro Boy Toys
Hong Kong (August 14, 2007) – Imagi Animation Studios (Imagi) today announced that it has established a strategic relationship with Wowwee Ltd. (Wowwee) to market and distribute toys based on the studio's next two CG-animated feature films, Gatchaman and Astro Boy. Under the agreement, Wowwee will be the exclusive distributor in global markets (excepting Japan and China) for toy lines developed by Imagi and its OEM partner, Wah Shing Toys, Ltd.
The Gatchaman and Astro Boy toy lines are expected to include action figures, vehicles, playsets, robotic figures, activity toys, and plush. Wowwee is providing some of its proprietary technology for advanced robotics and flying vehicles. In all cases, the designs and play patterns of the toys will closely replicate the look and story line of the films.
“All too often, film-licensed toys fail to live up to kids' expectations, because they fall so far short of what the kids see on the movie screen,” said Douglas Glen, Imagi's Co- CEO and Chief Production Officer. “But in the case of Gatchaman and Astro Boy, the filmmakers are working closely with the toy designers to make toys that are as innovative and feature-rich as the films themselves.”
“We're combining the most advanced technology in the toy industry with creative ideas from two great animated action movies,” said Eric Lau, Chief Operating Officer of Wowwee Ltd. “Our sophisticated toys will surprise and delight consumers with features and play depth they've never before enjoyed in film based products.”
The toys are scheduled to ship concurrently with the theatrical releases of the two CG- animated films in 2009.
Imagi's early 2009 feature film release, Gatchaman, originated in Japan in the early 1970s as a television series called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Aired in the U.S. as Battle of the Planets and G-Force, it soon became one of the top syndicated shows. Set in a future world grappling with environmental and technological issues, the story focuses on five reluctant heroes whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth's only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders.
Imagi's Gatchaman will be a big, effects-rich movie with some of the most ambitious action sequences ever seen in animation. Robert Mark Kamen (The Fifth Element, The Karate Kid) is the screenwriter and Kevin Munroe (TMNT) directs.
Astro Boy, slated for release later in 2009, also originated in Japan, and is one of the best known, most-loved action hero characters in the world. Originally created by “manga god” Osamu Tezuka in the early 1950s, Astro Boy has starred in more than 300 television episodes and several 2D features. When first aired in the U.S., the original black and white TV show quickly became a top syndicated children's programme. Astro Boy is the story of a half-human, half-robot youngster on a journey of self-discovery and redemption. It's a heartwarming family film in which kindness triumphs over cynicism and technology, and with no shortage of effects and action sequences. Michael Lachance (who conceived the stories for , Shark Tale and the upcoming Kung Fu Panda) is the screenwriter and Colin Brady (Toy Story 2, Everyone's Hero) directs.
Wowwee Ltd. is a privately-owned, Hong Kong based company with a worldwide sales and distribution network. The Company is the recognized leader in the manufacturing of innovative hi-tech consumer robotic and entertainment products. For more information and to see the latest Wowwee products please visit www.wowwee.com.
Imagi International Holdings Limited (“Imagi”) is a listed company (Stock Code 585) on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Imagi's principal business is the development and production of computer graphics (“CG”) animated theatrical feature films. Imagi's first theatrical movie TMNT was released in March 2007, opening #1 in U.S. box office revenue, only the third time in history that an Asian-made film has achieved that honour. Imagi has development operations in Los Angeles, California, and CG production studios at its Chai Wan (Hong Kong) headquarters.