Hello Kitty is set to greet fans on big screens around the world with her Hollywood debut.
New Line Cinema, FlynnPictureCo., and Sanrio — the Japanese lifestyle brand that first introduced the feline cartoon character in 1974, before she became a global pop cultural phenomenon — announced Tuesday that they will partner to develop an English-language Hello Kitty film to be distributed around the world by Warner Bros.
The currently untitled movie will mark the 45-year-old Hello Kitty franchise’s first feature to hit theaters worldwide. The project also represents the first time in Sanrio’s history that the company has granted a major American studio the rights to its characters.
“I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut,” Sanrio president and CEO Shintaro Tsuji said in a statement. “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.”
Though Hello Kitty characters have appeared in multiple Japanese animation titles over the years, Sanrio announced plans in 2015 to partner with an unnamed U.S. entity ahead of spending approximately $200 million on a Hello Kitty feature for a targeted 2019 release date, though it is unclear why that project never came to fruition.
A release date and casting details for Hello Kitty’s latest movie have yet to be announced, though a press release indicates a “search for writers and creative talent” has already begun.