New Line Cinema, Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. will develop an English language film based on the venerable kid brand Hello Kitty. It’s the first movie deal outside Japan in the brand’s 45-year history, the first time Sanrio has granted film rights to Hello Kitty and other popular characters—including Gudetama, My Melody, Little Twin Stars and more from its expansive universe—to a major film studio. The film will be produced by FlynnPictureCo’s Beau Flynn and executive produced by Wendy Jacobson.
The brand began in 1974, introduced on a coin purse. A year later, Hello Kitty was a global phenomenon, and is in 130 countries on more than 50,000 different branded products each year. They’ll now have to come up with a narrative, but sometimes the hardest part for movies is to anchor it around a recognizable brand.
Sanrio founder, President and CEO Shintaro Tsuji said, “I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut. 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.”
Richard Brener, President and Chief Creative Officer, and Carolyn Blackwood, President and Chief Content Officer, New Line Cinema, said in a joint statement, “We are thrilled to partner with Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. on developing a film based on this treasured icon. It’s a rare privilege to have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of such timeless IP. Hello Kitty and her friends have been part of our shared culture for decades, and we look forward to exploring where her newest adventure will take her.”
Beau Flynn, CEO, FlynnPictureCo., added, “Hello Kitty has been one of the most beloved characters around the world for the last forty-plus years. 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!”