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Imported from Japan, the Hello Kitty brand is one of the most popular around the world - and now its reach will be extending to the big screen. This is because it has been officially announced that a Hello Kitty movie is in development.
It seems as though things are still in the early stages, though Deadline is reporting that there is a plan in place to have the finish product in theaters worldwide some time in 2019. It's unclear at this point which medium the movie will be made in - be it animation or possibly an animation/live-action hybrid - but financing is all set up thanks to the Japanese lifestyle company Sanrio. They have recently established a U.S.-based subsidiary, and they are planning to go all-out in the making of the film. How do we know that? Because they're expected to give it a budget anywhere between $160 and $240 million.
Existing for more than 40 years now, Hello Kitty centers around Kitty White - an anthropomorphized cat who lives in London with her family. She goes to school, bakes, collects things, and enjoys playing with her twin sister, Mimmy. The character has been adapted into multiple television shows that have been produced since 1987. The longest running was Hello Kitty's Paradise, which ran for 12 years and produced 35 episodes. You can get a taste of it with the theme song feature below:
Interestingly, Hello Kitty may only be the start of a much bigger franchise on the big screen. Sanrio has other characters and brands, including My Melody and Little Twin Stars, are also being considered for feature development as well. According to the trade report, the company is considering collecting a dedicated fund to make these projects - but that may all depend on how things go with Hello Kitty both before and after its released.
Surely there will be a lot of people who groan and roll their eyes at this news, but it's honestly more surprising that this hasn't happened sooner. The brand has been popular for many years, and it doesn't usually take this long for a big feature film step to be taken. Also, if you couldn't already tell from the description above, the character is pretty much a blank slate that lends itself to a feature length story because you can literally have her go on any kind of adventure and find a way to have her personality work with it. As long as she's wearing a red bow, it will probably work just fine.