HIT Entertainment, one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality children’s entertainment, andÂ Arc Productionsâ„¢, the renowned visual effects and animation studio, announced today that Arc has been appointed the new animation studio for the popular CG-animated television program, Thomas & FriendsÂ®. Â This deal marks the first global television series the studio will produce, following a series of successful theatrical movies including Gnomeo and Juliet, and 9.
Thomas & Friends is the world’s #1 preschool property1 with its television series airing in more than 185 territories. To date, 16 series have been produced for the brand. Â Toronto-based Arc will provide animation for all 11-minute episodes of the upcoming seventeenth series, as well as a one-hour Thomas & Friends feature-length special. Â The new episodes animated by Arc are set to broadcast starting Fall 2013.
“We are proud to be entrusted with the stellar assignment of animating the highly regarded and much loved Thomas & Friends TV series,” said Jeff Young, COO, Arc Productions. “There are successful brands, and a handful grow to be franchises.Â Then you have those precious few that rise to iconic stature.Â Thomas & Friends is certainly one of those very rare successes and we’re truly excited to perpetuate its legacy under our creative stewardship.”
“Having been impressed with their top-rated technical and artistic abilities, we look forward to Arc bringing their animation vision to the world of Thomas & Friends. We believe Arc will expertly bring to life all the thrills and adventure of the Island of Sodor for future generations of children around the world,” said Karen Barnes, Executive Vice President, Production and Development, HIT Entertainment.
In 2010, the first ever CG animated look was unveiled for Thomas & Friends. Thomas and his engine friends began speaking in their own voices, allowing them to tell their own stories of teamwork, determination and friendship. The CGI programming has already proved popular around the world with ratings up 86%* in the UK (FIVE Milkshake!), 50%** in the US (PBS), and 47%** in Australia (ABC)2.
1Source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service
2* BARB ** OzTAM ***Nielsen