ANNECY — Adding to the building Paris-L.A. TV animation axis, L.A.and Paris-based Zagtoon and Paris’ Method Animation are teaming with Playmates Toys and Man of Action Studios, creators of “Ben 10” and “Big Hero 6,” on new TV action series: “Power Toys.”
Move marks Method and Zagtoon’s follow-up to “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir,” aired by Nickelodeon in the U.S. and highlighted by buyers at a TV France International Annecy Fest panel on Friday as one of the most succesful of recent French TV animation shows.
France Televisions will be French TV network partner on “Power Toys.”
Created by Zagtoon, and a hybrid mix of live-action and CG character elements, “Power Toys” turns on a 10-year-old kid who has the ability to transform himself into a toy. Supported by a band of good toys, he battles villainous toys to save the world from real danger.
“Power Toys” will be a “dynamic action show with great comedy,” said Zagtoon founder Jeremy Zag. Describing “Power Toys” as “aspirational and heroic,” Zagtoon head of TV Kevin Marciano said the series, in terms of visuals, would be “‘Alvin and The Chipmunks,’ meets ‘The Smurfs’ meets ‘Ant Man.’” Man of Action (“Ben 10,” “Big Hero 6”) is writing and developing the show with Zagtoon. Marciano will produce with Jeremy Zag and Method Animation founder Aton Soumache.
“Animation audiences are getting younger and younger. If you look at the big movies these days, they’re all hybrids in one way or another, seamlessly integrating CG elements and characters in our world,” said Jeremy Zag.
“A hybrid can attract older boys and girls and also maintain the attention of younger kids,” Marciano added.
In terms of technology, hybrid TV shows were impossible to produce even five years ago. Zagtoon and Method have been working on the technology for two years, Soumache said.
He added: ”When ZAG approached us about this show, we were excited to become a co-producer and join this brilliant concept Jeremy Zag had created, developed, and launched with strong partners.”
Production on the TV show, which will have 78 11-minute episodes, is now greenlit. The production needs a commitment to that number of episodes in order to launch a strong brand, Marciano added.
The partners are in the process of attaching two directors, one to handle the TV series’ live action elements, the other its animation. They are also developing a feature film, Zag said.
“What is very important is that we are building a brand integration with one of the biggest toys companies in the world from a very early stage, he added.
Zag has been developing “Power Toys” with Playmates Toys for over a year. The Method Animation-Zagtoon deal for “POeer Toys” is on the cutting edge of U.S.-European link ups as high-flying companies seek, when it comes to TV animation at least, to consolidate a strong U.S. base, linking with accredited writers and bringing in a toy company from near the beginning of development.
“Power Toys” also links two of France’s most energetic animation players, Aton Soumache, president of ON Entertainment, whose feature film company Onyx Films produced “The Little Prince,” and Jeremy Zag, whose credits include “Sammy & Co,” co-produced with Nexus Factory, Studiocanal and nWave Pictures, and broadcast on French TV network M6. In 2014, “Harry Potter” director Chris Colombus and producer Michael Barnathan (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”) teamed with Zag to launch ZAG Animation Studios, a family-targeting feature film production house.
A very ostensibly Paris-set actions thriller about a young girl super-hero, Ladybug, and her male sidekick, Cat Noir, “Miraculous” is a Top 5 show for Disney in Europe and accounts singlehanded for a whopping 25% of total weekly audiences on Brazilian Globosat kids channel Gloob. It is co-produced by Japan’s Toei Ent. and South Korea’s SamG, and broadcast by Disney Channel in international.
Zagtoon and Method Animation also teamed with Saban Brands to create the toy-based TV series “Popples” for Netflix and Gulli in France.