WB looks to turn canine into crowdpleaser with 'Musical Mysteries'
The family show is the latest effort by the studio to keep kids interested in Scooby-Doo, which ranks as one of Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ top five properties — even without a pic in theaters since 2004. It’s also the latest franchise to get a touring stage production after Fox and DreamWorks Animation have launched shows around “Ice Age” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” and WB’s “Batman” is arriving stateside.
First leg of the “Scooby” musical will travel around North America and feature Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma solving the mystery of a troublemaking ghost that haunts a local theater.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Life Like Touring are producing the production, which will include original songs penned by Theresa Borg, who also wrote the show’s script. Anton Berezin produces, while Luke Gallagher serves as creative producer.
New “Scooby” musical comes as WB is touring its “Batman Live” arena show, and “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” returns to New York City’s Discover Times Square venue this holiday season. The stop in New York City will serve as the exhibition’s return to North America after a yearlong international tour. Dates have yet to be revealed.
WBCP and Global Experience Specialists created the 14,000-square-foot exhibition, which displays props from the “Harry Potter” film franchise. Tour launched in 2009 beginning in Chicago. It is on display at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands through the end of September.
“From the moment visitors step inside Harry Potter: The Exhibition, they are immersed in the incredible world depicted in the blockbuster films,” said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “Returning to New York, the exhibition will give the legions of fans and visitors from around the world yet another special opportunity to experience the magic of Harry Potter this holiday season in Times Square.”
Hit films have increasingly become healthy revenue generators through live touring shows. Fox partnered with Stage Entertainment to launch an “Ice Age” arena tour set to bow in November, while DWA preemed its “How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular” in March.
But WB is also putting more resources behind growing the “Scooby-Doo” brand, recently pairing with WWE to put the company’s wrestlers into a direct-to-homevid feature in which the Mystery Inc. gang solve a mystery at “WrestleMania.”
Animated “Scooby-Doo” films are a consistent seller on homevid for WB. A pair of live action direct-to-homevid films, “Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins” and “Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster” followed the theatrical releases of “Scooby-Doo” and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” the latter of which bowed in 2004.
The animated property, first launched as the series “Scooby-Doo, Where are You!” by Hanna-Barbera Prods. in 1969, is one of WBCP’s top revenue generators. Its portfolio also includes the Looney Tunes and DC characters.
Character Group has produced a successful line of toys, sold exclusively in the U.S. at Toys R Us stores, and will expand the line next year, while Campbell’s Soup launched a new tie-in with the characters, and Kellogg’s will introduce a themed cereal in January.
Hallmark, Scholastic, General Mills, Pressman and Rubies Costumes also have built their own successful “Scooby” greeting card and ornaments, books, food, games and costume lines, while apparel is also a strong seller at Walmart, Target, Kmart and Sears. Mattel launched a Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine Hot Wheels car as a Comic-Con exclusive toy, which sold out and spurred additional retail demand.
Last year, WBCP launched “Scooby” e-book apps on Apple’s iTunes store. There are now eight titles tied to the toon characters, and the studio division will host its second-annual National Family Pack event, which promotes the characters, with “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 29.