Cuphead, the vintage-styled video game made notorious for its compelling difficulty, has been building its pop cult following for the past couple of year through a growing licensing programme. It’s now just landed its first animated series.
The all-animated series will arrive courtesy of a partnership between Netflix and King Features Syndicate and will be entirely based on Studio MDHR’s award winning video game title.
The game won the hearts and minds of fans worldwide with its retro, hand-animated style, crazy boss-brawls, and challenging gameplay. This will all now come to life on television for the first time in The Cuphead Show!
The new series will expand on the characters and world of Cuphead, with an animation style inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s.
For King Features, CJ Kettler will serve as the executive producer and creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer will serve as executive producers for Studio MDHR. The series will be produced by Netflix Animation and is executive produced by Emmy and Annie Award-winning producer, Dave Wasson and Cosmo Segurson (of Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling fame) serves as co-executive producer.
The character-driven comedy follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his brother Mugman. Through their many misadventures across their surreal home of the Inkwell Isles, they’ve always got one another’s backs.
To date, Cuphead has sold over 4 million units worldwide, and has won over 20 major awards, including Special Achievement in Animation at the 45th Annual Annie Awards, Xbox One’s Game of the Year, a BAFTA Games award for Music, and a trio of statues at the 2017 Game Awards for Best Debut, Best Independent Game, and Best Art Direction.
The game continues to be celebrated by fans for its arcade-action gameplay, original art design, and an award-winning soundtrack featuring almost three hours of original jazz, early big band, and ragtime music.
This announcement also marks the first long-form animated series production for King Features since it detailed its strategy to build character franchises across multiple platforms including television, digital video, licensing and social media.
Cuphead has already made its mark in the consumer products space with a programme featuring an array of domestic and international deals. Partners include Funko, McFarlane Toys, Dark Horse Comics, Elope, Jay Franco + Sons, 1000 Toys, Fifth Sun, Just Funky, and retail partnerships with Target, Walmart, Hot Topic, Spencer’s, Gamestop and others.
“Cuphead has all the elements of a brilliant animated series – great characters, physical comedy, beautiful design and a production style that harkens back to the golden age of animation,” said C.J. Kettler, president, King Features Syndicate.
“We are so fortunate to partner with Netflix Animation on the production of this new series which will introduce the adventures of Cuphead and Mugman to new audiences.”
Studio MDHR co-director, Chad Moldenhauer, added: “Jared and I grew up on a steady diet of hand-animated classics – some of our favourite memories together are intertwined with early Disney, Ub Iwerks, and Fleischer Studios.
“These cartoons are a huge part of the reason Cuphead came to exist, and the thought of our little animated adventure becoming a cartoon of its own is surreal and wonderful. We can’t think of better partners than King Features and Netflix and are so excited for Cuphead fans and new audiences alike to discover the world of the Inkwell Isles as envisioned by the talented team at Netflix Animation.”
Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at Netflix, concluded: “The Cuphead video game has authentically re-created a golden era of animation and captured the imagination of modern gamers to resounding success and worldwide buzz: a fantastic jumping off point for an all-new Netflix original animated series.
“We look forward to bringing this beloved property to television for the first time ever to delight global audiences and animation fans on Netflix.”