Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (1984) - News Poster

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'9' Helmer Shane Acker Boards Feature Based On The Thomas The Tank Engine Toys

  • Deadline
'9' Helmer Shane Acker Boards Feature Based On The Thomas The Tank Engine Toys
Exclusive: Hit Entertainment, rights holder to the Thomas the Tank Engine kiddie juggernaut, is moving forward with its first live action theatrical film. Shane Acker, who directed the 2009 animated film 9, will direct a film set in Sodor, the island of talking trains., where Thomas is among a litany of characters . Weta Workshop and Mattel's entertainment properties design team have joined the creative team, and the financing and distribution is being sold by Cinetic Media and the UTA Independent Film Group. the script was written by Chris Viscardi & Will McRobb. and Shrek the Third's Josh Klausner. Created 65 years ago, Thomas the Tank Engine has been the number one preschool toy license in the UK for 11 years. It has held the top spot in the Us for a decade. Since the core audience of Thomas is preschool age, the choice of Acker as director is surprising. After all, he's best known
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'Thomas' buys ticket to big screen

'Thomas' buys ticket to big screen
All aboard! Thomas the Tank Engine is heading back out on the tracks.

The cheeky children's book character is en route to the big screen via Hit Entertainment, which has hired screenwriter Josh Klausner ("Shrek the Third") to write a script for a feature based on the tiny-train world "Thomas & Friends" created by the Rev. W.V. Awdry in the 1940s.

Julia Pistor of Hit Movies, a newly launched unit of Thomas caretaker Hit Entertainment, is producing. The UTA-repped Hit also owns the Barney and Bob the Builder franchises, and it launched the film division to bring those family-oriented properties to the multiplex.

"'Thomas & Friends' is a phenomenally successful and versatile brand that appeals to children and families worldwide," said Pistor, who heads Hit Movies. "Generations of children have grown up with the adventures of 'Thomas & Friends' with its storytelling tradition, positive values, timeless lessons and rich train history. We
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Thomas The Tank Engine Director Dies

  • WENN
The man who adapted children's favourite Thomas The Tank Engine for TV has died after suffering a heart attack.

David Mitton directed the pilot for what was to become a runaway success in 1984 and has since directed more than 180 episodes.

His stories about Rev. Wilbert Vere Awdrey's famous blue engine and his friends have become a staple for toddlers and young children.

Mitton suffered a mild heart attack at his home in London last month. He survived a week on life support. He was 69.

HIT, Kidz pact for Scandinavia push

LONDON -- U.K. kids entertainment production house and sales company HIT Entertainment said Tuesday that it is teaming with Denmark-based agency Kidz Entertainment to roll out licensing operations across Scandinavia. The partnership aims to push HIT's reach across Europe, spearheaded by new hire Jon Owen, who steps in as vp business development. Kidz Entertainment will lead the sales efforts across Scandinavia and will act as the primary agent for HIT's core pre-school properties such as Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam.

De Mol eyes bigger Hit stake

De Mol eyes bigger Hit stake
LONDON -- Former Endemol founder John de Mol has more than doubled his stake in kids entertainment group Hit Entertainment to 11%, the company behind Barney the Dinosaur and Thomas the Tank Engine said Monday. De Mol's Amsterdam-based investment vehicle, Talpa Beheer NV, has been steadily building its stake in Hit Entertainment since October, when it took 3% after Hit shares took a plunge following the departure of chief executive Rob Lawes. In a filing to the London Stock Exchange, Hit Entertainment said that Talpa had lifted its shareholding to 11.07% of the company, but company sources dismissed suggestions the move might lead to a takeover bid.

HIT Ent.'s Orton hit with MIPTV lifetime award

LONDON -- Peter Orton, founder and chairman of HIT Entertainment, the U.K. kids programming company that gave the world Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder, will receive a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming MIPTV programming market, organizers Reed Midem said Thursday. Orton founded HIT in 1989 after a career that took him from Television International Enterprises to the Children's Television Workshop and Jim Henson's Henson Associates.

HIT Ent. takes a hit

HIT Ent. takes a hit
LONDON -- Shares in kids' specialist HIT Entertainment fell 28% Thursday after the company behind the Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine franchises issued a surprise profit warning. The warning came after HIT said it learned Wednesday that a leading U.S. retailer would cut back on HIT merchandise, cutting this year's projected profits of about £41million ($75.2 million) by as much as 20%. America is responsible for about two-thirds of HIT's sales, which were hard hit by a 70% fall in Bob the Builder merchandise sales in the six months ending in January.

Allcroft hangs indie prod'n shingle in L.A.

Britt Allcroft, creator of the worldwide children's programming franchise Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, on Monday announced the launch of her new independent production company, Britt Allcroft Prods., in Los Angeles. British-born Allcroft said she has set up the company to create and produce a variety of television, film and theater projects, the first of which is the children's live-action adventure TV series Scoobs. Scoobs, which is being launched at MIPTV in Cannes, is targeted for kids ages 6-10 and follows the adventures of a kids scuba-diving team nicknamed the Scoobs. The series was created by Allcroft, David Kuehler and Greg Lee. Kuehler is the director of Project Platypus, a product-development initiative within the girls division at Mattel, and Lee was a writer, contributing producer and host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS children's show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Allcroft also is a best-selling author featured on the New York Times children's best-seller list for Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

HIT full-year earnings soar

HIT full-year earnings soar
LONDON -- Kids specialist HIT Entertainment on Monday unveiled a more than sixfold increase in pretax profits for fiscal year 2002, ending July 31. The company reported profit of £18.3 million ($29.1 million) for the year, compared with £2.8 million a year earlier. HIT, home to a slew of children's properties including Bob the Builder, Barney the Dinosaur and Thomas the Tank Engine, said revenue for the year was up 131% to £121 million ($192 million) from £52.3 million in 2001.

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