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New Line book, toy deals to bolster ‘Lost in Space’

NEW YORK — New Line Cinema has sealed key merchandising agreements in the toy and publishing categories for its “Lost in Space” revival franchise.

New Line has signed deals with Trendmasters for toys and Harper Prism and Scholastic in publishing based on the campy 1960s sci-fi TV series, now being remade as a more serious actioner feature film, and developed as both animated and live-action TV series.

Trendmasters, a proven sci-fi player with toys based on “Independence Day” and the original “Godzilla,” will create a line of action figures, vehicles and a replica of the signature robot from the classic TV series, targeted at baby boomers. Some, including the robot and Jupiter II spaceship — will be marketed for the 1997 holiday season, with others to follow in 1998.

A separate line based on the upcoming film — starring Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Mimi Rogers and Matt LeBlanc — will follow next year, along with toys tied to the cartoon series planned for fall 1998.

Similarly, the two publishing partners each plan about 10 books by year-end 1998, with Harper Prism’s sci-fi novelizations for young adults and teens complementing Scholastic’s, aimed at the 6-to-11 market.

“We’re separately marketing to two different demos to make sure the franchise has broad appeal,” said David Imhoff, senior VP/licensing and merchandising. “This goes hand in hand with the premiere of ‘Lost in Space’ as the serious sci-fi of the ’90s.”

Bob Friedman, president of New Line Television, said the studio only recently acquired TV and classic merchandising rights to “Space” from Sheila Allen, the widow of producer Irwin Allen who created the 1965-68 series for CBS. Twentieth Television owns rights to those 83 episodes, airing on cable’s Sci-Fi Channel for two more years.

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