Sanrio is sending its $6 billion Hello Kitty franchise to the movies, confirming that an English language film is in development after five years of talks around the move.
The Japanese company confirmed the move on Wednesday, stating that it will team up with New Line Cinema and FlynnPictureCo on a Hello Kitty film for global audiences. Warner Bros, will distribute the new title.
First designed in 1974, Hello Kitty – cited by some media as a cat, but strictly not… – will make the leap to the big screen after nearly five years of discussions to secure the film rights. The new partnership also includes film rights to Sanrio’s other creations including My Melody and Gudetama.
“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,” said Sanrio CEO Shintaro Tsuji.
Shares in Sanrio, which develops cartoon characters and merchandise items, jumpd 12.1 per cent following the announcement.
“Markets are looking positive at the chance of Hello Kitty walking down the red carpet,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market strategist at Securities Japan Inc in Tokyo.
Hello Kitty is the latest in a sweep of Japanese created characters to make the move to Hollywood, with Pokémon’s Detective Pikachu from The Pokémon Company and SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog ready to bow soon.