Hello Kitty is ready for her closeup. Sanrio’s iconic kawaii character is getting her first English-language movie and it’s headed to Warner Bros. label New Line Cinema. Sanrio, New Line, and FlynnPictureCo. will develop the film based on the beloved kid’s brand, marking Hello Kitty’s first movie deal outside Japan in the character’s 45-year history. And it’s not just the familiar feline-faced character, per The Hollywood Reporter, Sanrio has granted the film rights to a number of other popular characters including Gudetama, My Melody, Little Twin Stars.
The Hello Kitty film will be produced by FlynnPictureCo’s Beau Flynn and executive produced by Wendy Jacobson. It’s still unknown if the film will be live-action or animated (or possibly a hybrid a la Detective Pokemon), but the studio is already on the hunt for writers.
Sanrio founder, President and CEO Shintaro Tsuji said, “I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut. Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world.”
Beau Flynn, CEO, FlynnPictureCo., added, “Hello Kitty has been one of the most beloved characters around the world for the last forty-plus years. We’re incredibly honored that President Tsuji has entrusted us with the responsibility of bringing her story to the big screen globally for the first time ever, and it’s a dream that we get to do this with our long-term partners at New Line and Warner Bros. With the positive and family-oriented values that Hello Kitty and Sanrio embody, there has never been a better time than now to share her message with the world!”
It will be interesting to see what direction the film takes, considering that, contrary to popular belief, the character isn’t a cat at all but a young British girl. No joke! And a Scorpio at that! Turns out there’s a pretty detailed biography for Hello Kitty, as revealed by Hello Kitty scholar Christine R. Yano in a recent interview with the L.A. Times. She has a twin sister, she loves apple pie, and a whole lot more. “Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
It’s all rather strange and interesting and while I’m certainly curious what track the writers take (will this be the next LEGO Movie or the next Emoji Movie?), let’s be real — I’ll mostly just be waiting for the Gudetama movie.