Financing and production company Alcon Entertainment has secured exclusive rights to produce animated theatrical motion pictures based on the iconic comic strip Garfield, it was jointly announced by Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove.
Alcon acquired the rights from the creator of the Garfield comic series and brand, Jim Davis, who will also serve as an Executive Producer. Alcon's goal is to build a franchise of fully CG-animated Garfield feature films.
State Kosove and Johnson: "Jim Davis's creation has been an international sensation for all ages for decades, and we are thrilled to bring an animated Garfield feature to the big screen."
Created by cartoonist Jim Davis, the Garfield comic strip debuted in June 1978 and follows the cynical and lazy orange cat and his interactions with his owner, Jon Arbuckle, and fellow pet Odie, the lovable dog.
John Cohen, producer of the worldwide hit films Despicable Me and the recently released The Angry Birds Movie, and Steven P. Wegner brought the project to Alcon. Cohen and Wegner will produce along with Alcon principals Kosove and Johnson. Bridget McMeel from Amuse will executive produce with Davis.
"I've been so impressed with the quality of animation and storytelling coming out of Hollywood of late," said Jim Davis. "I can't wait to get into production with the terrific team Alcon has assembled."
Garfield originally appeared in 41 newspapers, but its success and immediate popularity made it one of the fastest growing comic strips of all time, ultimately appearing in 2,580 newspapers and journals, with an estimated readership of 260 million. Garfield currently holds the record for being the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world.
The rights deal was negotiated on behalf of Alcon by its COO Scott Parish and Senior VP of Business and Legal Affairs, Jeannette Hill-Yonis.