Broadway Video Enterprises has acquired the worldwide TV, merchandising and homevideo rights to “Thunder Force,” a martial-arts puppet series from Taiwan.
BVE — a division of Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment — will develop a U.S. version of the program along with Reveille (former William Morris agent Ben Silverman’s new company) and international film financier Distant Horizon, which originally held the rights to the property.
“Thunder Force” has been described as a cross between “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and 1960s space-oriented cult puppet fave “The Thunderbirds.”
“We’ll take the episodes, re-edit them, attach high-profile writers to the project and adapt it in the hopes of creating a hit for the domestic marketplace,” said BVE prexy Alex Drosin. “When we saw the preliminary pilot, it was so unique visually.”
Pilot in the works
According to Silverman, a “Thunder Force” pilot is in the works; the project will then be pitched to nets later this year.
“It’s consistent with my theory that you have to do innovative projects to get noticed,” Silverman said.
“Thunder Force” is among the initial round of projects to be picked up by BVE, which was launched in October as a means of distributing and exploiting Broadway Video properties (which include Michaels’ crown jewel, “Saturday Night Live”), in addition to locating new properties.
Focusing on kidpix
For now, BVE is focused on bolstering its library of children’s titles.
“What’s compelling is ‘Thunder Force’ has such a strong storyline and unique approach that it will skew both young and old,” Drosin said. “But in the initial launch, because of the licensing approach, we’re targeting kids first and foremost.”
Distant Horizon CEO Anant Singh, the company’s Brian Cox and Broadway Video will serve as exec producers on “Thunder Force,” while Silverman will be co-exec producer.
“Thunder Force” was originally produced in Taiwan by PiLi Intl. and its CEO, Chris Huang, who’s a fourth-generation puppeteer. PiLi has produced more than 900 hours of “Thunder Force”-related programming.