Heavy Metal to adapt Rat Queens

After working on such films as the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, Weta Workshop’s Pukeko Pictures is pairing up with Heavy Metal to adapt Image Comics’ “Rat Queens” into an animated TV series.

The dark comedy, described as a sass-and-sorcery series, revolves around beer-guzzling maidens — Hannah the Rockabilly elven mage, Violet the hipster dwarven fighter, Dee the atheist human cleric and Betty the hippy smidgen thief — who are hired to kill monsters and other beasts.

Image Comics and Shadowline publish the “Rat Queens” books created by Kurtis Weibe and Roc Upchurch.

Weibe’s other Image comicbook, “Peter Panzerfaust” is being adapted by BBC Worldwide, with the pilot penned by “Life on Mars” creators Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah, and Heavy Metal also producing.

Pukeko and Heavy Metal, which acquired the rights to “Rat Queens,” plan on developing the books” into a 30 minute show before pitching it to TV networks.

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Pukeko’s Martin Baynton and Adam Fratto will serve as executive producers on the project, with Heavy Metal’s Jeff Krelitz. HM’s David Boxenbaum and Rob Prior serve as co-executive producers.

Pukeko also is behind a reboot of children’s series “Thunderbirds,” which it is co-producing with ITV Studios.

In January, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” creator Kevin Eastman, who has served as the sole publisher of Heavy Metal magazine since 1991, sold the publication to Boxenbaum, a music vet, and Krelitz, a film producer, after they raised several million dollars in private equity to turn it into a multiplatform entertainment brand. The company has a credit on the upcoming “Ninja Turtles” film from Paramount.

Boxenbaum and Krelitz now serve as co-CEOs of the company.

In addition to “Rat Queens” and “Peter Panzerfaust,” Heavy Metal’s new owners have “Red Brick Road,” a “Game of Thrones”-style take on “The Wizard of Oz,” that’s set up at Warner Horizon with Roy Lee, Adrian Askarieh and Mark Wolper in development; and “Chew,” as a direct-to-video animated film and live action series.

“‘Rat Queens’ is a standout in the marketplace as a diving rod for fangirls, a market as yet untouched by most comics publishers,” Krelitz said. “It is not only perfect for the TV space, but much needed.”

Pukeko Pictures and Heavy Metal are both represented by CAA.

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