Tradecraft: Cartoon Network Books More Cartoon Spies
Variety reports that Cartoon Network has signed a major deal with Paris-based Marathon Media for several kid-oriented animated spy projects. The deal encompasses a renewal of the network's flagship spy toon Totally Spies as well as a spinoff called The Amazing Spiez and the $20 million feature Totally Spies! The Movie (first reported on here in 2008) which opened last year in France. Totally Spies (the series) focuses on three teenage girls from Beverly Hills who have accidentally become international secret agents. Totally Spies! The Movie tells the origin story of how those girls came to spy. And the spinoff, the "action comedy" The Amazing Spiez, will (according to the trade) center on "friends from an L.A. spy school who travel the world solving crimes." That sounds cool to me! I've always liked the idea of spy schools. The trade also reports that each episode of The Amazing Spiez is fifty-two minutes long, which seems quite lengthy for an animated series. I wonder if that's a typo? Or if perhaps they're double episodes, telling two stories in single blocks that could also be broken up? The budget on The Amazing Spiez seems surprisingly high at $21.5 million, but Variety explains that "Marathon's able to pull down higher budgets thanks to its internationally driven business model."
"We produce first for the U.S. market with an emphasis on international storylines and production values," said the company's principal. "That way we're able to finance about two-thirds of each series with international co-productions, and the remaining 30% from France with local subsidies and TV pickups."
It's unclear from the article what distribution channels Cartoon Network will pursue for Totally Spies! The Movie. Potentially it could be a theatrical film, a direct-to-DVD release or debut on the network.