While not at all a favorite of critics, the new “Tom & Jerry” movie from Warner Bros.’ Warner Animation Group still managed to draw in whatever meager crowds could be drawn from partly-opened cinemas in the US and around the world, plus views from its simultaneous streaming release on HBO Max. As if to capitalize on this appeal, Warner subsidiary New Line Cinema is going ahead with their big-screen adaptation of Japan’s famous mascot Hello Kitty. Much like “Tom & Jerry,” the “Hello Kitty” film will be hybrid animated-live action, and the studio has chosen two filmmakers to jointly direct.
Comic Book Resources has it that Leo Matsuda and Jennifer Coyle have been tapped by New Line Cinema as directors for their animated/live-action “Hello Kitty” movie. The two are veterans in animated productions, and New Line Cinema chief creative officer Richard Brener noted that not only are Coyle and Matsuda bringing talent, heart and imagination to the project, but both are also fans of the Hello Kitty character, created by Japanese company Sanrio in 1974.
Matsuda, a Brazilian-Japanese who grew up with Hello Kitty merchandise, was part of the Disney animation teams that produced “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Big Hero 6” and “Zootopia.” Coyle on the other hand was director in six seasons of Fox TV animated series “Bob’s Burgers,” before landing a stint on the mature-rated DC animated series “Harley Quinn,” first on DC Universe and now on HBO Max. She is just as much excited as her new collaborator for the project, saying how the world sorely needs the kind of joy and happiness a character like Hello Kitty can give to audiences. They will be joining a creative team that includes Lindsey Beer, who will be writing the storyline.
“Hello Kitty” from New Line is the first time Sanrio has entrusted one of their iconic characters to a Western production studio, and it was first announced back in 2019. The pandemic stalled development work until only now, and while no plot details are known, the plot will be tailored first to non-Japanese audiences, much like Warner Bros. doing the film adaptation of the Nintendo videogame “Detective Pikachu,” which premiered 2019 and was a worldwide blockbuster. The studio has yet to announce any casting news.
Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter