Wallace and Gromit animator inks with HIT

Wallace and Gromit are hooking up with Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine — sort of.

Blighty’s Aardman Animations has inked a deal with HIT Entertainment to manage the U.S.-Canadian licensing and DVD rights for several of its key properties, including Wallace & Gromit.

HIT has previously scored with licensing initiatives on behalf of a number of kidvid brands, including Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine. Deal with Aardman — which also includes characters such as Disney Channel’s Shaun the Sheep — kicks in immediately.

Aardman CEO Stephen Moore said HIT’s “talent in managing top international brands will give Shaun and Wallace & Gromit a great springboard for tremendous success.”

Despite strong international appeal and critical praise, the past two Aardman features — “Flushed Away” (with DreamWorks) and “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” — were B.O. disappointments in the States.

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