Mattel Takes on DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda

DreamWorks Animation SKG has signed Mattel Inc. to be the exclusive worldwide master toy licensee for Kung Fu Panda, the CG-animated feature film slated to hit theaters in June of 2008. Announced during a launch party at the Licensing International Expo 2007 in New York City, the deal is the first such partnership between the animation studio and the toy company.

Mattel, which counts the Fisher-Price and Radica brands among its portfolio, will be creating Kung Fu Panda products across such categories as action figures, games, plush and role play.

Set in ancient China, Kung Fu Panda centers on Po the Panda (Jack Black), a lowly waiter in a noodle restaurant who gets a chance to take his kung fu fanaticism to a whole new level when a prophesy names him the “Chosen One” to protect his land from powerful enemies. At last reporting, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane were on board to lend their voices to the action-comedy movie being directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne (Father of the Pride). Melissa Cobb is producing.