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MGM finds rights to ‘Waldo’

Studio to bring character to the bigscreen

Waldo has a home at MGM.

The Lion announced Monday that it’s secured feature film rights to Classic Media’s “Where’s Waldo” character for a live-action family adventure.

The Waldo books, created by Martin Hanford and first published in 1987, revolve around the good-natured, bespectacled character who has a knack for blending into crowds. The books have sold more than 55 million copies in more than 38 countries and been translated into more than 30 languages; more than 4.6 million gaming apps for iPad and iPhone have been sold.

Classic Media will produce “Where’s Waldo” for MGM. Classic Media co-CEO Eric Ellenbogen and Hanford’s business partner, Mike Gornall, are exec producing.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the search for Waldo to the bigscreen,” said Jonathan Glickman, MGM’s motion picture group president. “Along with our partners at Classic Media, we look forward to making a worldwide adventure that will appeal to ‘Where’s Waldo’ fans of all ages.”

Paramount and Universal have attempted previously to develop features based on the books but were unable to get those projects off the ground. Par launched development on “Waldo” with Nickelodeon Films in 2001, and U had set its “Waldo” project with Illumination Entertainment in 2009.

MGM’s VP of production Cassidy Lange will oversee the project.

CAA handled the rights deal for “Waldo.”

MGM, which received a $500 million cash infusion late last year, is moving ahead on a 23rd James Bond pic and has launched development of Eminem-led boxing project “Southpaw,” Vin Diesel action-comedy “The Machine” and animated children’s book adaptation “Punk Farm.” MGM has also co-financed “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” and “21 Jump Street” at Sony and Paramount’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.”

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