TOKYO: Hello Kitty, Japan’s moon-faced global icon of cute, will soon appear in a Hollywood film for the first time in her 45-year-old history, her creator said on Wednesday.
Sanrio, the feline character’s operator, announced it was teaming up with New Line Cinema and FlynnPictureCo for the film after a near five-year discussion about rights for the big screen.
“A search for writers and creative talent will commence immediately,” Sanrio said in a statement.
The mouthless character, with her child-like hair bow and a registered height of five apples, has spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry since Sanrio introduced her in 1974.
Immediately recognising Hello Kitty’s cash cow potential, the company branched out into merchandising the year after and she now adorns everything from pencil cases and pyjamas to double-decker buses and airliners.
Last year, a Japanese railway firm even splashed images of Hello Kitty over a special shinkansen, or bullet train, painted in shocking pink and white.
To mark her 40th year, toymaker Bandai released yet another licensed Kitty product: so-called “smartpants” that slip on the bottom of a smartphone for those who think their device needs underwear.
Hello Kitty is now found in 130 countries on more than 50,000 branded products every year, according to Sanrio.
The firm also operates two theme parks in Japan and licenses characters such as Hello Kitty for amusement parks overseas, including in China.
The Legend of Maula Jatt controversy
LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) today issued a stay order against the upcoming film The Legend of Maula Jatt.
The court restrained respondents, including producer, writer and
others, of the film from unauthorized use of the title, characters, story and music of a 1979 Punjabi blockbuster Maula Jatt, besides issuance of censor certificate.
Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan passed the interim orders while hearing an appeal, filed by Sarwar Bhatti, producer of original movie ‘Maula Jatt’ against an order of the Intellectual Property Tribunal.
The petitioner’s counsel, Ahsan Masood, argued that his client produced film Maula Jatt in 1979 and no one could use the title, music, script, and dialogues of the film as per the Copy Rights Act. However, the respondents produced a film titled The Legend of Maula Jatt in violation of the act without obtaining authorization from his client and got a censor certificate for its exhibition as well, he added.
He contended that the film violated the copyrights and pleaded with the court to issue directions for action against illegal production and exhibition of the film while setting aside the orders of the Intellectual Property Tribunal. He also pleaded with the court to restrain the respondents from using the title, script, and dialogues of the film Maula Jatt, and issuance of the censor certificate.
However, a lawyer on behalf of the respondents opposed the plea saying that no violation had been committed. But the court, after hearing arguments, issued the stay order against the film and adjourned further hearing till 6th June.
‘King of Surf Guitar’ Dick Dale dead at 81
WASHINGTON: Dick Dale, the California rocker behind the song “Misirlou” which plays during the opening scene of “Pulp Fiction,” has died at the age of 81.
His death on Saturday was confirmed on Facebook by Dusty Watson, a drummer who once toured with Dale, though the cause of death was not immediately known.
Dubbed the “King of Surf Guitar,” the genre he invented in the 1950s, Dale’s work was influential to a generation of musicians including The Beach Boys, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix.
The keen surfer and musical pioneer described the style in a 1994 interview with the New York Times as “a heavy machine-gun staccato picking style to represent the power of Mother Nature, of our Earth, of our ocean.”
According to a biography on his website, Dale worked with electric guitar trailblazer Leo Fender to develop amps and speakers that could withstand the thundering volume he played at, breaking through the electronic limitations of the era and earning him the moniker the “Father of Heavy Metal.”
Tributes poured in online, including from Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who tweeted: “I’m sorry to hear about Dick Dale passing. Dick’s guitar playing was a big influence on all of us, and we covered “Misirlou” on our Surfin’ USA album in ’63. Love & Mercy to Dick’s family.”
Sega suspends game sales as actor held on drug charge
TOKYO: Japan’s entertainment firm Sega has suspended shipments of its video game “Judge Eyes” after a popular Japanese actor appearing in the action-adventure software was arrested on drug charges, a company spokeswoman said Friday.
Japanese authorities on Tuesday arrested actor and musician Pierre Taki, 51, whose real name is Masanori Taki, on suspicion of using cocaine.
The video game, also known as “Judgement,” stars popular Japanese actors, including Taki, who play in a crime suspense animation drama, set in Tokyo.
The software for Sony’s PlayStation 4 console had been on sale since December in Japan and other Asian countries, while it was scheduled to be released in North America in June.
The company apologised for the suspension but declined to confirm details, including sales and shipments of the software so far.
“We have suspended all shipments and nothing has been decided, including our sales plan in North America,” the spokeswoman said.
Taki, who also heads a techno band, has appeared in many domestic movies and was the voice of the cheeky snowman Olaf in the Japanese-language version of the hit Disney movie “Frozen.”
Media and other companies that have signed contracts with him are reportedly considering seeking damages, which may reach one billion yen ($9 million) in total.