Earlier today, Genius Brands International announced that John Landis, legendary director and producer of blockbuster hits such as Trading Places, Animal House, Blues Brothers, Three Amigos, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Coming to America, and the Honey I Shrunk The Kids TV series, will join Arnold Schwarzenegger and the production team behind Genius Brands' forthcoming children's animated series, Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten. Landis will direct Schwarzenegger, who lends his voice to the starring role of the action-adventure comedy series co-created by Stan Lee as one of his final projects. He also serves as co-producer, along with China's Alibaba Group, Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment, and Schwarzenegger's Oak Productions. Co-creator of Deadpool, Fabian Nicieza has developed the series, with scripting by Steven Banks (SpongeBob SquarePants).
Landis has also joined Genius Brands' development team to help create a live-action series and feature film spin-off of the series. The extent of John Landis's involvement with those is not yet clear.
"When one has a property of this magnitude, we will quickly pursue development of a live-action feature spin-off as we work to maximize the value of the brand," said Genius Brands Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward in a statement. "Today's announcement reflects a core element of our strategy for Genius Brands and Kartoon Channel! -- recruiting the industry's top proven and emerging talent to ensure that we are steadily building a content offering that is second to none. We believe that this approach, in combination with our excellent distribution deals and licensing agreements, is a pathway for Genius Brands to drive strong revenue and create long-term shareholder value."
"I am honored to work with Andy and Arnold for the first time in bringing Stan's vision to life with this action-packed series infused with comedy and heart," Landis said in the official press release.
"I am honored to help realize Stan's vision of creating a children's cartoon series that not only entertains with superhero adventures, but also imparts valuable lessons about the importance of health, exercise, nutrition, anti-bullying, and diversity," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Andy Heyward is one of the industry's most respected producers of children's programming and working together we will be able to bring to life our shared vision of 'content with a purpose,' which parents can enjoy alongside their children while taking comfort in the moral and educational focus."
Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten will debut on Genius Brands' recently-launched Kartoon Channel! in Q1 2021. It will also be broadcast on Amazon Prime in the U.S., and Alibaba in China on its video streaming platform for kids, Youku. Concurrently, Genius Brands is actively marketing a full-scale global consumer products retail program anchored with toys, publishing, and apparel.