Endemol to adapt Arabic ’99’

Animated series to be distributed worldwide

LONDON — Endemol has inked a deal with Kuwait publishing group Teshkeel Media to produce an animated series based on Arab superhero comicbooks “The 99.”

The comicbooks are heavily inspired by the Koran. The characters in “The 99,” derive their names from the Arabic for the 99 attributes of God. Characters such as Jabbar, for example, means “The Powerful,” Noora means “The Light,” and Mumita means “The Destroyer.”

Teshkeel Media launched the series in 2006. Since then, the comics have enjoyed some popularity in the Muslim world although concerns have been raised by some about the wisdom of mixing superhero tradition with religion.

Teshkeel execs will open a theme park in Kuwait based on the characters in 2009, with a further five theme parks planned in the future.

“It’s rare that an idea born of a social premise can become even more successful as a business,” said Teshkeel founder and chief exec Dr. Naif al-Mutawa. “Bringing ‘The 99’ to homes around the world through its animated stories will fully implement the power of an idea whose time has come.”

Production for the series will be overseen by Endemol U.K., with the animation itself set for India and post-production to take place in the U.K. Endemol Intl. will retain worldwide rights across all platforms for the series.

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