DreamWorks Animation has bought the rights to the 95-year-old feline cartoon icon Felix the Cat. The studio acquired the character by paying an undisclosed sum to Don Oriolo, whose father Joe helped revive Felix in the 1950s and later assumed ownership of the character.
In the announcement at Licensing Expo, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said that Felix “goes beyond evergreen status and rises to something even more uncommon, as he is a true icon.” So, what does one do after they acquire a true icon? “We plan to make him one of the most desired fashion brands in the world,” explained animation studio owner Katzenberg. Because how better to revive a joyous, personality-filled cartoon character than plastering it onto teenybopper underwear and printing a hackneyed #YOLO-style motivational message underneath it?
Like many projects that DreamWorks undertakes, expanding the merchandising footprint of a vintage cartoon character is straight out of another company’s playbook. In this case, the model has been perfected by Disney, which re-acquired Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2006 so they could cash in on the character’s merchandising craze in Japan.
At the rate things are going, it’s only a matter of time before every rubber hose cartoon character will be ‘rediscovered’ by a corporation. Watch out Bimbo, Bosko, and Flip!