Toho International acquires stake in Genius Brands content

Bee and PuppyCat

Toho International, a subsidiary of Japanese studio Toho Company, has taken a 50% stake in two original productions from Genius Brands’ US-based animation outfit Frederator Network.

The firm is making a “multi-million dollar investment” in Bee And PuppyCat, following its launch on Netflix, as well as Bravest Warriors. The deal also includes the upcoming series Catbug, based on the character created in the Bravest Warriors series and currently in development.

According to Genius Brands, the deal will provide a framework for Frederator Network, which it owns through its WOW! Unlimited Media subsidiary, and Toho International to co-produce new content for the properties and work together to develop a global consumer products campaign. Genius Brands will oversee global distribution and consumer products development for the properties, excluding Asia, which will be handled by Toho International.

Created by Natasha Allegri and produced by Frederator Network, which is also behind animated titles such as Adventure Time and Castlevania, Bee And PuppyCat follows a twenty-something temp worker named Bee and her mysterious companion PuppyCat as the two travel on fantastic adventures across space while taking on various intergalactic odd jobs to help make rent.

Bravest Warriors was created by Pendleton Ward and headed by showrunner Breehn Burns, telling the story of four teenage heroes-for-hire in the year 3085, as they warp through the universe to save adorable aliens and their worlds using the power of their emotions. The Catbug character was meanwhile created by Burns and featured in Bravest Warriors.

Michael Hirsh, CEO of WOW! Unlimited Media, parent company of Frederator Network, said that the partnership with Toho will “allow us to further expand the reach of these two series, both in terms of distribution and upcoming consumer products.”

Hiro Matsuoka, president of Toho Company, added that the deal “aligns with our long-term strategy, as we build a more effective system for distribution and licensing of our own IP.”

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