Nearly four years after Sanrio announced that it was planning to spend a staggering $240 million on a movie about Hello Kitty (a plan that never came to fruition, as far as we know), American studio New Line Cinema has announced that it’s teaming up with Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. for an “English language film based on the venerable kid brand.” That comes from Deadline, which points out that this is the first time that Sanrio has ever granted the rights to its characters to a film studio outside of Japan. Also, the Deadline story doesn’t mention a budget, but it has to be under $240 million, unless New Line thinks this is going to be bigger than Star Wars.
That’s all we know at this point, so it’s unclear what direction this Hello Kitty movie might take, but considering every other movie based on a property like this, we’d have to guess that it’ll be some kind of meta commentary on the legacy of the cat-like being at the heart of the brand. It could be a Lego Movie thing about a Hello Kitty toy that comes to life and lives in a community of Hello Kitty merchandise, or maybe it’ll be a Detective Pikachu-style evolution of what people already expect from the character, with an unsettlingly realistic CG version of Hello Kitty voiced by Ryan Reynolds. It obviously cannot just be a cute kids movie, because that wouldn’t have nearly enough spectacle, but New Line could use it to set up a cinematic universe and have Gudetama and Aggretsuko show up after the credits to invite Hello Kitty to join the Sanrio Initiative.