U collects Fat Rock for kids

Shingle aims to produce G-rated weekend matinee fare

Universal has inked a distribution pact with Fat Rock Entertainment, a kidpics production company trying to revive Saturday matinees for tots.

U will handle homevideo, television worldwide and theatrical distrib outside North America and China.

Fat Rock aims to produce G-rated fare, and has signed agreements with Loews Cineplex, Cinemark and Carmike cinemas to show its pictures on weekend mornings when theaters are usually dark.

“We think there is an opportunity to create internationally what Fat Rock is doing domestically,” said Louis Feola, prexy of Universal Worldwide Home Entertainment.

U’s initial focus, however, will be marketing Fat Rock pics as homevids. The pact covers six films over three years.

Noting that U has reached the ninth installment in its dinosaur toon series, “The Land Before Time,” Fat Rock chief David Pritchard said, “They have a very long track record of launching and sustaining kids properties.”

Pritchard said he will be looking to strike similar timeslot deals with overseas exhibitors, but Universal will then handle the distribution.

Fat Rock also is looking for firms that want to market their wares within a 15-minute reel of shorts shown before the main feature, as well as in goodie bags for the kiddies.

The company has already signed a deal with toymaker Hasbro to turn six of its toy brands into movies. Fat Rock will turn its sights to “Super Soakers” and “My Little Pony,” first.

Pritchard said he hoped to have his films on screens starting early next year, when he plans to have enough of an inventory to release a new pic every six to 10 weeks.

“You want to make sure that every weekend parents and kids can know a Fat Rock G-rated movie will be playing,” he said.