17 FEB, 2011

NEW YORK, NY & LONDON


HIT Entertainment, one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights owners, has today announced the latest Thomas & Friends™ CG animated feature-length movie, Day of the Diesels, set for release on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in Fall 2011 in the US; on September 26 in the UK; and across other international territories including Australia, Germany, Benelux and Spanish-speaking territories in Latin America by the end of 2011.


In a thrilling tale of adventure, Day of the Diesels showcases the classic rivalry between the Diesel engines and the Steam engines on the Island of Sodor. The 60-minute movie will introduce four new characters and reintroduce Diesel 10, the most devious of all Diesels, and the new Dieselworks destination, the diesel version of the Sodor Steamworks. This feature event will be supported by Thomas & Friends global partners including Fisher-Price®, Learning Curve and Mega Bloks. In addition, Thomas & Friends regional partners worldwide will introduce Day of the Dieselsthemed products, and the event will be supported across all channels including retail, live events, broadcast, digital and social media.


In Day of the Diesels, there's a fire on Sodor! Thomas and his best friend Percy fight the fire until Flynn and Belle, two new fire engines who are experts at putting out fires, arrive to save the day. When Thomas starts to spend all his time with Flynn and Belle, Percy feels left out. Diesel uses Percy's loneliness to lure him to the Dieselworks. At the Dieselworks, Percy is made to feel very special by none other than the master of mischief Diesel 10! As Percy spends all his time with the Diesels, chaos ensues and Thomas becomes trapped at the Dieselworks! Only when the Diesels are running amok in the Sodor Steamworks does Percy realize his folly in trusting Diesel 10. Percy then wastes no time in rallying his Steamie friends to retake the Steamworks and save Thomas!


"Thomas & Friends continues its reign as the #1 preschool toy property around the world, and we are extremely excited to introduce Day of the Diesels this fall," said Rick Glankler, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Management, HIT Entertainment. "HIT and its partners will offer consumers around the world an impressive array of tie-in products from core Thomas & Friends train systems to new digital offerings. We look forward to bringing the Diesels to life in CGI in 2011 and giving them their time to shine."


To support this feature event, Thomas & Friends licensees worldwide, including Fisher-Price, Random House, Egmont, Mega Bloks and Learning Curve will create more than 75 tie-in products, including books, games, engines, playsets, apparel, bedding and accessories based on Day of the Diesels. In addition, Day of the Diesels related mobile and tablet applications are scheduled for 2011. Diesel engines will also be featured in issues of Thomas & Friends magazines in the US, Canada, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay, with a special Day of the Diesels themed issue in August/September 2011.


Beginning in early March 2011, Day of the Diesels will be promoted at Day Out With Thomas events in North America and the UK with a free Steamies vs. Diesels activity booklet. Visitors will receive a commemorative train wheel that showcases the Sodor steam engines and diesel engines, and Diesel tattoos will given out at each stop. In the US and the UK, HIT will distribute "The Ultimate Diesel Guide", a commemorative book showcasing Diesel engines at Thomas & Friends live and retail events and in Thomas & Friends DVDs. Select Thomas & Friends DVDs will also include a bonus feature about how steam engines and diesel engines work.


A Day of the Diesels microsite will launch in March 2011 on the Thomas & Friends website, www.thomasandfriends.com, with monthly content added including coloring sheets, new character reveals, games, activities and video previews. The microsite will also poll consumers on "Are you a Steamie or a Diesel?" In addition, Day of the Diesels will be promoted on Thomas' official Facebook fan page and through the new Thomas & Friends Twitter (@TrueBlueEngine).


Timed to the release in the US, consumers will get a sneak peek of Day of the Diesels on PBS KIDS® in Fall 2011 prior to the DVD release. In the UK, screenings of movie will take place in cinemas nationwide, plus a celebrity filled premiere will be held in London's Leicester Square. Cinema screenings of the movie will also be held in Australia, and US retail partners will host Day of the Diesels themed events.


Thomas & Friends is the Number One preschool toy property in the UK, a position it has held for the past 11 years. It remained the Number One preschool toy license in the US for 10 straight years* and has been the Number One preschool entertainment brand in the US since 2009**. The unrivaled popularity of the global brand continues with Thomas also being the Number One preschool toy license in Germany and Australia, as well as the Number One foreign preschool brand in China, Japan and Korea.


About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights-owners. HIT's portfolio includes properties, such as Barney™, Bob the Builder™, Thomas & Friends™, Pingu™, Fireman Sam™, Angelina Ballerina™ and Rainbow Magic™. HIT represents Chapman Entertainment's Fifi and the Flowertots™ and Roary the Racing Car™ in North America, as well as Wallace & Gromit™, Shaun the Sheep™, Timmy Time™ and Aardman Classics from Aardman Animations. HIT also acts as representative for The Wiggles® in the UK. Launched in 1989, HIT's lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. HIT is a part-owner of US-based preschool channel, PBS KIDS SproutSM. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.


To download artwork, please visit www.hitnewsonline.com.


* Source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service


** Source: Nielsen


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