Hello Kitty to be Made Into Hollywood Film

For the first time in her 45 years, Hello Kitty is becoming a Hollywood star. Warner Brothers has reached an agreement with Sanrio, the Japanese company behind the kitty, for the rights to put Hello Kitty in her first English-language feature film.

Though specific terms were not disclosed, according to the New York Times, the deal involves merchandising rights and spinoff options. Notably, the deal also includes the rights to 20 other Sanrio characters, including the likes of Gudetama, My Melody and Little Twin Stars. 

The Warner Bros. division New Line Cinema and the Flynn Picture Co. will produce the film with Beau Flynn and Wendy Jacobson as producer and executive producer. Flynn has been working for almost five years to begin this project, taking two years to finally secure a meeting with Sanrio’s founder and CEO, Shintaro Tsuji, in 2016.

“Hello Kitty has been one of the most beloved characters around the world for the last forty-plus years,” Flynn said. “We’re incredibly honored that President Tsuji has entrusted us with the responsibility of bringing her story to the big screen globally for the first time ever, and it’s a dream that we get to do this with our long-term partners at New Line and Warner Bros. With the positive and family-oriented values that Hello Kitty and Sanrio embody, there has never been a better time than now to share her message with the world!”

Courtesy: Animation Magazine

 

The production companies have been quiet on the details for the film’s logistics. It was stated that it was too early to know whether the film would be fully animated or animation live-action, as well as whether or not Hello Kitty will speak. She is drawn without a mouth and while there are some Japanese television episodes where she has a mouth and speaks as the protagonist, making that decision for a feature film may be more complicated. According to Forbes, an idea was in the works for an animated pilot that had to be nixed after fan complaints of a talking Hello Kitty. As of now, no writers or director have been hired for the film.

As with any adaptation, producers will have to toe the line and stay in the favor of the $6 billion international phenomenon. There have been reports that sales have been down in Japan and that Sanrio has been looking to revitalize the brand. Nonetheless, Sanrio is optimistic that the film will be the next step in Hello Kitty’s global media presence.

“I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut,” said Tsuji. “Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world.”

With the film now having secured rights and plans being set in motion, updates will be coming from this project in the very near future. As such an iconic cultural figure, all eyes (and ears) will be on Hello Kitty, along with her Sanrio friends, for when she hits the big screen. Bow and all.