No one’s putting “Big Hero 6” into the Disney Vault.
Walt Disney’s TV-animation unit will create a TV series based on the 2014 film about an inflatable robot named Baymax and the young prodigy it befriends. Production has begun for a 2017 debut on Disney XD cable networks around the world, the company announced Wednesday. Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, creators and executive producers of the Disney Channel series “Kim Possible,” are the executive producers.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to further develop these characters into a world-class animated series — full of fun, action and the kind of endearing storytelling that only Mark, Bob — and Baymax — can deliver,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, in a prepared statement.
In decades past, a Disney property might surface only occasionally after its first run. And indeed, some of the company’s older classics turn up in the marketplace only every few years, as anyone who might want to go to the store and buy a copy of the 1953 animated showcase “Peter Pan” might tell you. But in recent years, the company has found new ways to burnish some of its biggest figures and films. “Tangled,” the 2010 riff on the Rapunzel fairy tale, is slated to return as a series on Disney Channel in 2017. “The Lion Guard,” a TV-series reboot of sorts of 1994’s “The Lion King,” debuted on Disney Channel and Disney Junior last year. And the company has placed more importance on new live-motion versions of animated favorites like “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book.”
Disney is unveiling the new “Big Hero 6” series as part of its activity around the annual upfront, when U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their advertising inventory for the coming year. Unlike Disney Channel and Disney Junior, which limit advertising to tie-ins and sponsorships, Disney XD runs commercials regularly. The network skews toward boys between the ages of 6 and 11, and does not have blocks of programming meant expressly for pre-schoolers.
Disney is touting 17 new series, 28 current series, the Radio Disney Music Awards and two new original movies to advertisers, all part of what is known in the industry as the “kids’ upfront.” Disney will vie with Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Time Warner’s Cartoon Network and Boomerang, NBCUniversal’s Sprout and Discovery Communications’ Discovery Family Channel, among others, for a slice of what is estimated to be $800 million in advance commitments from advertisers.
“Big Hero 6” was inspired by a comic from Disney’s Marvel subsidiary. The film tells the story of Baymax 6, tech-savvy 14-year-old Hiro and their friends as they try to solve a mystery that threatens the city of San Fransokyo. The movie took in over $657 million worldwide.