Artisan’s Family Home Entertainment division (FHE) has acquired from Nelvana U.S. distribution rights to a new animated direct-to-video Care Bears feature film. The movie, which will see the cute, cuddly and considerate critters get a 3D CG makeover, is scheduled to hit stores on VHS and DVD in late 2004.
The Care Bears in: King Funshine, The Great tells the story of Funshine Bear’s adventures in a new kingdom where he is immediately embraced and crowned king. It’s up to the other Care Bears to remind him who his true friends are and bring him back to Care-A-Lot. Along the way, they must restore order by foiling an attempt to steal Laugh-A-Lot’s royal jewels. The project will be the property’s fourth feature and the first in more than 15 years. Released in 1985, the initial Care Bears movie clawed up the box office to the tune of $22.9 to become one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time up to that point.
FHE has also nabbed rights to the hit ’80s Saturday morning TV series. Episodes from the series will be released for the first time ever on DVD beginning in first quarter 2004.
These home entertainment deals come on the heels of a resurgence of American Greetings’ Care Bears property in the marketplace. In 2002, Funshine, Cheer, Tenderheart, Bedtime and the rest of the Care Bears gang came out of hibernation with sales of licensed products soaring from $70 million in 2002 to more than $250 million expected in 2003.