Hello Kitty seems to pop up everywhere. We have found her cute little face staring at us from billboards to ladies purses, from lunchboxes to sweatshirts, and from credit cards to even her very own airline.
— Sanrio (@sanrio) July 3, 2015
And now finally we are going to see her in a movie. Yes, Hello Kitty is spreading her paws all the way to Hollywood.
A global icon, Hello Kitty’s popularity spans continents, age groups, and a wide range of products. She has inspired cafes in Australia and Los Angeles, a restaurant in Hong Kong, and several themed parks in Japan, China, and the United States. She even made it on an episode of the American sitcom Big Bang Theory.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the iconic character of Hello Kitty, represented by a red-bowed cat with six symmetrical whiskers, Sanrio — the Japanese lifestyle company that created Hello Kitty in 1975 — has announced its plans to make a movie based on her. And it is going to be no small deal, either.
According to Deadline, the movie will have an expected budget of anywhere from $160 million to $240 million. Now that’s a wad of cash to spend on a kitty.
If reports are to be believed, Sanrio’s decision to make a movie on Hello Kitty is more a strategic ploy than a commemorative gesture by the Japanese conglomerate. As per a report published in Japan Today, American animated megahits like Frozen have regularly been taking up a sizable share of Sanrio’s merchandising market. Hello Kitty needs to retaliate, and she is going to need Hollywood’s help to do it.
However, Hello Kitty is not going to hit the theatres anytime soon, with a tentative release date of 2019 on the cards. Sanrio have only recently started an American media unit, Sanrio Media & Pictures Entertainment, in Delaware and will need time to lure some of the industry’s top professionals. It has been established with an intention to help exploit the Japanese company’s brand library worldwide.
There is no word yet if Sanrio’s other famous characters, such as Pekkle, Pippo or Bad Badtz-Maru, will also join Hello Kitty on her big-screen adventure, but with a dedicated fund likely to be at Sanrio’s disposal, it is a possibility that remains likely.
Whether or not Hello Kitty makes it to the big screen by 2019, there is no doubt that she has already started taking strides toward her next generation of fans.
[Photo: Bob Levey / Getty Images]