Speed Racer Drives More Licensing Deals

Since tomorrow (Sep. 21) is the official 40th anniversary of the classic anime series Speed Racer, we had to dig up some related news to share with you. The folks at Speed Racer Enterprises inform us that they’ve signed four key licensing agreements for the classic toon in addition to two license for Speed Racer: The Next Generation, the new show that will premiere on Nicktoons in 2008

Southpole/Lot 29 (a division of Wicked Fasions) will produce t-shirts, polo, tank tops, jerseys, jackets, etc for both versions of the show and will release the classic apparel this November. Grosset Dunlap (Penguin Young Readers) will publish the novelization of the classic toon and will produce six books in the first quarter of 2008. Meanwhile, IDW Publishing has licensed both versions of the show for comic books and trade paperback collections for early 2008 and Trends International will deliver posters and calendars in the third quarter of ’08.

Speed Racer (52 x 30′) made its original debut in 1967 in Japan and was dubbed into English and syndicated nationally on television Speed Racer: The Next Generation (26 x 30′) is geared toward a new generation of 6-14-year-old viewers and builds on the legendary adventures of the original iconic series. After leaving an orphanage, Speed arrives at the Racing Academy and discovers that he is the son of the world famous Speed Racer who had gone missing many years ago. Between studying and racing, Speed must uncover the secret to his father’s disappearance, all while avoiding the evil schemes of oil tycoon Zile Zazic.

Speed Racer: The Next Generation is executive produced by John and James Rocknowski, principals of Speed Racer Enterprises, and Larry Schwarz, a principal of Animation Collective in association with Lionsgate. Lionsgate will launch the first installment of these television episodes on DVD in 2008.

The live-action feature version of Speed Racer will burn rubber in theaters on May 9, 2008. The Warner Bros. release stars Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, Matthew Fox, John Goodman and Susan Sarandon, is directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and produced by Joel Silver.