Shout! Factory and Legacy Classics have entered into a long-term production and distribution partnership for a slate of new family movies based on several classic and contemporary children’s book series, which will begin with The Boxcar Children. The other titles are not yet known, however the films based on the properties will be either animation or live-action. The plan is to produce a minimum of four feature-length movies over the first two years with the first wave to be three new animated features adapted from several best-selling titles in The Boxcar Children series.
Shout! Factory and Legacy Classics are working closely with publisher Albert Whitman & Company, with an eye toward launching the first animated movie timed to the 75th Anniversary of The Boxcar Children. The first book The Boxcar Children — which followed four orphaned and hungry children Jessie, Benny, Henry and Violet who stay in a boxcar while they find a home — was written by Gertrude Chandler Warner and published in 1942, which means the 75th anniversary 2017. They are said to be “well into production” on the film.
The film already received one animated treatment in 2014 by Legacy Classic’s producers and founders Mark Dippé and Dan Chuba. That lower budgeted offering featured the voice talent of Illeana Douglas, Martin Sheen, JK Simmons, Mackenzie Foy and D.B. Sweeney (among others). It was done through Village Roadshow and Warner Bros. but only was released in 100 theaters in August of 2014 before heading to VOD and home entertainment.
But the audience is surely there for it. The book has sold over 70 million units worldwide and it now has 150 books in the series. It is also one of the books that elementary school kids get as assignment reading.
Shout! Factory will co-produce these new family films with Legacy Classics and handle the sales and distribution for each movie across all platforms in North America, including theatrical, digital, broadcast, inflight and home entertainment through Shout! Factory Films and Shout! Factory Kids.
Legacy Classics has animation and visual effects studios in Seoul, Jakarta and Bali; they are based, however, in Los Angeles. Dippé has directed and/or produced several independent features, and has directed movies for New Line Cinema, Columbia TriStar, and Disney Channel, as well as numerous commercials. He did computer graphics and worked as a VFX supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic during the Jurassic Park, The Abyss and Terminator 2 years. Chuba (through Hammerhead Prods.) also is a visual effects guru who has also produced films. His work can be seen in such films as X-Men and Heaven is For Real.
The deal was negotiated by Shout’s SVP of Business Affairs, David McIntosh and Aaron Meyerson of Qualia Legacy Advisors for Legacy Classics and the announcement was made by Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos.