It looks like another beloved 2D animated character will be getting a CG facelift next year. Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment (Reboot, Barbie and Hot Wheels DVDs) announced today that it will co-produce and has acquired international distribution rights for the all-new CG animated direct-to-video film based on Marc Brown’s popular Arthur children’s book series.
Mainframe Entertainment, Lions Gate Family Entertainment and RichCrest Animation have teamed up to produce the new feature, Arthur’s Missing Pal, starring the charming and inquisitive aardvark and his friends and family. IDT Entertainment Sales (IDTeS) will sell international distribution rights for the film on behalf of Mainframe. RichCrest will produce the film with Mainframe, along with Marc Brown Studios and WGBH Boston. Lions Gate Family Entertainment will handle U.S. distribution, with a scheduled delivery of spring 2006.
"Arthur fits right into the slate of classic characters we bring to life in 3D CG animation," says Rick Mischel, CEO of Mainframe. "For international broadcasters and video distributors looking for popular, branded children’s properties with a built-in fan base, this exciting new Arthur feature will make an ideal addition to their lineup."
The Arthur series of books grew out of a bedtime story Marc Brown told his son about an aardvark named Arthur who hated his nose. That story became "Arthur’s Nose," the first in the series of books. There are now more than 20 books in the series, as well an additional series of books based on Arthur’s little sister D.W. Trained at the respected Cleveland Art Institute, Brown has created over 100 picture books for children in addition to his best-selling series. There are over 50 licensees producing toys, apparel, and other products based on Arthur. Introduced in 1996, the 2D animated version of Arthur (produced by Cinar, now Cookie Jar) is one of the popular staples of the PBS Kids schedule. Cookie Jar’s Postcards from Buster is another successful spinoff of the series. Trivia fans will notice that Arthur’s aardvark nose in the books’ original illustrations is much bigger than its animated counterpart! No word yet on how his nose will fare in the CG edition!