A treat for kids is in the making at Toonz Animation
Eerie Adventures Mostly ghostly
With Halloween just a few months away, it’s time for ghosts. And so, it is going to be ‘Mostly ghostly’ from Trivandrum based Toonz Animation. The animation film based on the first book in the popular eight-part Mostly Ghostly series by the best selling children’s author R.L.Stine is slated for a Halloween 2008 release in the U.S, other markets abroad and subsequently in India. Distribution rights of Mostly Ghostly have been acquired by Universal Studios.
The film made with a budget of 3.6 million USD by Toonz Animation, chronicles the eerie adventures of an 11-year-old outcast Max as he protects Nicky and Tara – the sibling ghosts who live in his house –from the fume-spewing demon Phears. Shooting has already been completed for the 90-minute animated feature film. Post-production and EFX work is currently being at Toonz studios. Sound mixing and editing will be done in the studios abroad.
“We plan to deliver the product to Universal in the middle of July,” says P. Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Animation India Pvt Ltd. “We are ecstatic at this deal which would complement our efforts to deliver innovative entertainment experience to audience across the globe. We are hopeful that Mostly Ghostly will be well received by children as well as adults alike,” he adds. Toonz had earlier released Dragon Lands, based on a famous video game, through Paramount Pictures, and it has sold record number of copies in the U.S. market.
On the choice of R.L. Stine series, he says it is based on the popularity factor. “The author stands next only to J.K.Rowling in the popularity list. And, one the most important elements in the world DVD market is brand recognition. We want to identify top brands and associate with them,” Jayakumar explains. Stine’s books, including The Nightmare Room, Fear Street and Nightmare Hour, have been translated into more than 20 languages and published in more than 30 countries. The author has been honoured with a Children’s Choice Award, three Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and three Disney Adventures Kids’ Choice Awards.
Ask him about the success formula of animation films, and Jayakumar says, it’s all about the story. Simple stories with universal themes that are well told.
On attracting the audience in India to watch animation films, he says the market is still nascent. “We need some kind of identifiable icon to associate with and which will attract people towards theatres. We need to come up with stories that target not just the kids, but also the parents who accompany them. It is a gradual process, but once we convert them to animation audience, we become winners,” he adds.
Though stories on mythology and culture work better here, eventually like other markets, audience will get mature and we will get into contemporary stories.
“Once the industry matures in terms of content, story treatment and production values, attracting audience becomes easy. The process has already started,” says Jayakumar.
Mostly Ghostly is directed by Rich Correll, co-creator of the immensely popular Hannah Montana and produced by Yvonne Bernard, Arthur Cohen and Steve Stabler. Screenplay is by Correll and Emmy Award nominee Pat Proft, whose credits include Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4 and The Naked Gun series.
The film features a red-hot cast including Madison Pettis, Luke Benward , Maiara Walsh , Ali Lohan , Brian Stepanek Kim Rhodes and introduces Noah Cyrus.
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