Growth spurt for Mip Jr.

TV adaptations, reboots flood tyke toon bazaar

CANNES — Brands made much of the running at Mip Junior, the Cannes-set tyke toon mart, which wrapped Sunday.

Saban’s reboot of “Power Rangers,” with 40 new vfx-packed episodes in production, dominated billboards and even sidewalks, with Rangers-dressed figures cruising the Croisette.

The two-day event was flooded with TV adaptations and retools of established properties, including “The Little Prince,” the half-hour toon produced by Paris’ Method Animation and sold by PGS Ent., “Maya the Bee,” the Sketchers-funded animated-series and even Mattel’s “Polly Pocket.”

“Kids entertainment professionals are even more prone to licensing now because everyone is looking for ways to develop content across all platforms and media,” said Laurine Garaude, director of the TV division, Reed Midem, which is owned by Variety’s parent Reed Elsevier. “We’re seeing a greater demand for exchange between the sectors of TV, videogames, mobile, online, publishing, as well as toy manufacturers and retailers.”

Mip Junior attendance rose 7% with 630 companies at the mart.

The three most-watched programs at the video library were: “Mia and Me,” a girl-skewed fantasy toon from Italo powerhouse Rainbow and Netherlands’ Telescreen, “The New Adventures of Peter Pan,” a French-Indian co-prod between Method Animation and DQ Entertainment and “The Little Prince,” also produced by Method Animation. U.S. shows proved popular as there were three Yankee programs in the top 10: Warner Bros’ animated comedy “Mad,” Disney’s “Fish Hooks” and Animation Collective’s toon “Black Down,” which targets tweens.

But insiders across the board agree the post-recession environment for kids’ programs seems even more competitive and its markets fragmented.

“While the volume of production has gone up with the skyrocketing number of digital terrestrial TV channels and other niche outlets, terrestrial channels are now concentrating on fewer but bigger shows to make an impact,” said Philippe Soutter, co-founder of PGS, which handles international sales on “Iron Man” and “Little Prince.”

Over at French pubcaster France Televisions, Julien Borde, the director of youth programming, said the net is “working more closely with (its) international sales branch, France Television Distribution, to work on brands and build franchises.”

France Television acquired for the first time the world rights of a show it’s co-producing : “Lulu Vroumette,” a pre-school show based on popular children book by Daniel Picouly and Frederic Pillot.

The pubcaster, with an acquisition budget of around $18 million, has inked its first deal with Nickelodeon, nabbing “Team UmiZumi” and “Bubble Guppies.”

“The kids market is bouncing back,” said Kevin Gillis, CEO of Canadian outfit Skywriter Media and Entertainment Group. “Broadcasters have exhausted reruns and need new content. But they’re still extremely cautious and prices have been dropping for the past two years,”

On the upside, however, Gillis said broadcasters are pumping up co-production in Canada and abroad and seeing more opportunities to form international partnerships.

One big reason for the climb in co-productions is that channels want to make a substantial investment, said Bilai Joa Silar, topper of Discovery Kids Latin America, which increased its co-prods by 20%.

“Co-production gives us access to more rights, and it allows us to work brands on multiple platforms and recoup,” she said.

In contrast, said Joa Silar, pre-sales can be very tricky in this market. “Shows move slower. We don’t want to run the risk of having our money tied up in shows that might end up stuck in development.”

Another reason for co-productions is editorial input, said Jules Borkent, Nickelodeon senior VP, global acquisitions and international programming. “We’re buying shows at an earlier stage to collaborate with creators.”

Every channel tries to carve its own identity and committing to shows early on gives them a chance to format the content for their specific audience, said Ken Faier, prexy of Nerd Corps Entertainment, producer of “League of Super Evil,” one of five finalists at Mip Jr.’s kids’ jury competition.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Julia Roberts Harriet Tubman

    Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' Screenwriter Says

    Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role. In a Q&A for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the [...]

  • Atlantics

    Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2020

    Before film critics start summing up the present year at the movies with a deluge of Top 10 lists, Variety gazes into the medium’s future by announcing its annual 10 Directors to Watch — a lineup of filmmaking talents who’ve stood out on the recent festival circuit, or whose movies will soon be hitting screens [...]

  • Napa Valley Film Festival Winners: 'Lucky

    'Lucky Grandma' Wins Napa Valley Film Festival Narrative Feature Prize

    “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion” and “The Nomads” were among the winners of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which ran Nov. 13-17 in various towns in the valley. The winner of the narrative feature was “Lucky Grandma,” presented by ZD Wines, which won a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley. [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' to Blast Off in China in December

    The Brad Pitt-starring sci-fi blockbuster “Ad Astra” will land in Chinese theaters on December 6, more than two months after its U.S. debut. Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays an astronaut [...]

  • Fred Wolf to Direct 'Love 40'

    Film News Roundup: Fred Wolf to Direct Tennis Rom-Com 'Love 40'

    In today’s film news roundup, Fred Wolf is directing a romantic comedy in New York; Leah Remini, Chinoye Chukwu, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang receive honors; and the topless bar documentary “Red Dog” finds a home. ‘LOVE 40’ Bluewater Lane Productions has brought on Fred Wolf to co-write and direct the romantic comedy “Love 40,” [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Lupita Nyong'o Follows Hollywood's Tradition of Two Roles in One Film

    Peter Sellers played three roles in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove.” In December of that year, Variety reported that Columbia was mounting an Oscar campaign for lead actor, but was also considering three supporting-actor campaigns, for each of his characters. (They settled on one campaign, and Sellers’ nomination as lead actor was one of the [...]

  • 'Legion' TV show premiere

    Noah Hawley to Write and Direct Next 'Star Trek' Movie

    “Fargo” and “Legion” creator Noah Hawley has been tapped to write and direct the next installment of the “Star Trek” franchise, sources tell Variety. Though plot details are being kept under wraps, sources tell Variety the next “Star Trek” is expected to see Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana returning to man [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content