Sunday, February 17, 2008

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing to Produce Raggedy Adventures Movies

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing has partnered with Starz Media to develop and produce a series of "Raggedy Adventures" movies. The movies, based on the publisher's "Raggedy Ann and Me!" books, will unveil a new and updated look that will target young children, exposing this new generation to characters ready to go on countless adventures and who will share the magic and power of imagination.

Starz Media is a full-service production and distribution company whose Film Roman unit produces such popular animated programs as "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!," the Emmy(R)-winning "Eloise," as well as "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill." The company has hired writer Joe Ansolabehere ("Recess," "Hey Arnold," "Rugrats") to create an updated "Raggedy Adventures" story that has the excitement that will appeal to today's young audiences, while retaining the characters' core values of friendliness, imagination and giving. The animated movies will be produced at Film Roman, with TV sales handled by Starz Media and DVD releases going out via Starz Media's Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Along with the "Raggedy Ann and Me!" books and the "Raggedy Adventures" movies, Russ Berrie will create a new doll based on the updated look. United Media is currently building a licensing program in support of Raggedy Ann and Me! and will release merchandise in conjunction with the videos, dolls and books this fall.

Johnny Gruelle's RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY stories have warmed the hearts of children for decades. While Johnny, a talented cartoonist, illustrator, and storyteller, began writing stories about Raggedy Ann as a way to entertain his ailing daughter Marcella, those stories published in memoriam went on to become an American classic. Cherished through many generations, the adventures of Raggedy Ann, a mop-headed rag doll found in a grandmother's attic, have been shared for generations between parents and children and grandparents and grandchildren and continue to delight children of all ages.