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Hello Kitty is getting her own English-language movie

Hello Kitty is getting her own English-language movie
An image from Hello Kitty Con 2014 at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Treasured pop icon Hello Kitty is going Hollywood and starring in her own movie.

The feature film comes by way of New Line Cinema and FlynnPictureCo., Warner Bros. announced Tuesday. The studios have teamed up to develop an English-language film for worldwide audiences for the first time in the character’s history.

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The project is the culmination of a nearly five-year journey to secure the rights to develop Hello Kitty for the global big screen, the studio said.

The first coin purse featuring Hello Kitty on display at a 2014 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
The first coin purse featuring Hello Kitty on display at a 2014 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The deal also gives Warner Bros. the rights to other characters from Sanrio’s expansive universe, including Gudetama, My Melody and Little Twin Stars.

“I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut,” Sanrio founder, 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.”

Hello Kitty has long been a fixture on animated programs on the small screen, some of which can be found on Netflix, but it’s the first time the global lifestyle brand will partner with a major studio.

Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo., which specializes in high-concept, tentpole studio films, will produce, and Wendy Jacobson will executive produce the film. Writers and creative talent are still being sought out.

Hello Kitty — who is not a cat but a human girl, by the way — was introduced on a coin purse in Japan in the 1970s. The expressionless, bow-clad persona arrived in the U.S. shortly after and became a global phenomenon, spawning more merch than can be ejected from an automatic pencil box. (We’re talking some 50,000 branded products each year, with cafes, airplanes and fan conventions inspired by her too.)

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