EXCLUSIVE: With an ITV acquisition offer already on the table, The Weinstein Company Television is broadening beyond live-action scripted and reality fare. TWC TV is making an aggressive move into family-themed animated programming. TWC is coming to market with an animated series based on Spy Kids, Robert Rodriguez’s hit live-action features released by Dimension. TWC also has acquired rights to Gnomes, the 1980s animated property that included a Miramax film that Harvey Weinstein produced in 1987, and a live-action/CG-animated series based on the original IP Reboot: The Guardian Code, a Power Rangers-esque show about a quartet of teens who enter cyberspace and become heroic figures who defend humanity from computer viruses, malware and other bad concoctions.
TWC is fully deficit financing each of the series, which extend from its long track record of making and releasing animated films from Paddington to other pics. The company is making Spy Kids and Reboot in partnership with Canadian animator Rainmaker, its partner on the 2013 film Escape From Planet Earth. TWC made a rich rights deal for Gnomes and is partnered with Spain-based animator and rights holder BRB. Harvey Weinstein is overseeing Gnomes, while Bob Weinstein is spearheading Spy Kids and Reboot.
The Spy Kids series takes the live-action films’ familiar sibling characters Juni and Carmen and puts them into an animated storyline. Created by Michael Hefferon and Sean Jara based on Rodriguez’s movie creation, the animated Spy Kids focuses on the Spy Kids Academy, a pseudo boarding school for kids whose parents are international agents. What it really is is a top-secret Hogwarts-like spy school for children, where several teams of the best and brightest play out rivalries and develop skills that allow them to go up against CORTEX, an evil organization that has hypnotized a legion of kids who’ve become hooked on a video game called Mind Corrupt. The villains are as colorful as the Spy Kids protagonists, and the 26-animated episodes are as much comedy as wish fulfillment.
Gnomes series is based on the David The Gnome series. David is a 200-year old doctor and his family of gnomes, who are seven times stronger than humans, and a sense of smell 19 times more developed than humans, and who travel the world doing battle against their evil troll enemies. The Weinsteins have gathered up the those pointy-hatted miniature heroes off lawns everywhere and now control all the rights. They can reissue the films, but right now the thrust is the series.