Mainframe Entertainment revving up for Hot Wheels Highway 35™

Thu 20th Feb 2003 | News


VANCOUVER, CANADA – February 20th 2003 -- Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. (TSX: MFE), a leading creator of computer animation, has been chosen by Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT) to animate the company’s new Hot Wheels Highway 35™ World Race™ series being introduced this March by Mattel’s Hot Wheels® brand. Launched to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Hot Wheels cars, the World Race™ is an entire character-based world built around a new line of Hot Wheels® vehicles and track sets and extends to comic books, home videos, a video game and television network special. Animating the Hot Wheels Highway 35™ World Race™ series also provides Mainframe with the added distinction of being the only company to produce animation projects for both of Mattel’s landmark toy brands, as the company also animated the award winning "Barbie in the Nutcracker™" and "Barbie™ as Rapunzel" direct-to-video features.

"For our 35th anniversary, we’re extending the Hot Wheels® experience into high-quality entertainment properties for boys of all ages," said Jim Wagner, senior vice president of Hot Wheels® marketing. "Mainframe’s distinctive animation work and their track record of success with Mattel and other projects convinced us that they would be the ideal partner to bring the Hot Wheels® signature speed, power and performance to life."

"Working on the Hot Wheels Highway 35™ World Race™ series has strengthened our relationship with Mattel," said Mainframe Entertainment’s Chief Financial Officer, George Lawton. "Contributing to the unique look and distinctive style of the animated videos, we were able to maximize our CGI capabilities to create a modern, high-tech look that still maintains the traditional Hot Wheels® feel. The resulting new animation series appeals to children, as well as the parents who played with Hot Wheels® cars 35 years ago."

"Every so often a project comes along that ignites the child inside of us," said Mainframe producer Gio Corsi. "Hot Wheels® is one of those projects. Old and new fans of this classic Mattel toy line are going to love the World Race™. It’s truly going to blow people away!"

Utilizing its Motion Capture facilities for a portion of the animation work, Mainframe also used its CGI expertise to create the videos’ innovative blend of 2-D and 3-D visuals. Combining colorful animation and fast-paced storytelling, the videos follow the five different Hot Wheels® race teams -- led by characters Vert, Banjee, Kadeem, Kurt Wylde and Taro -- across the challenging terrain of a parallel universe as they vie for victory.

"Mattel and Mainframe have taken their creative collaboration to the next level with Hot Wheels Highway 35™ World Race™," said Mainframe producer Sharan Wood. "A lot of hard work and care is going into this series to make it very special and worthy of the 35 years of great tradition already established by the Hot Wheels® brand."

Packaged in collectible World Race™ Video Packs, which include two official Hot Wheels Highway 35™ World Race™ cars and two World Race™ comic books, the first three videos in the series are 22 minutes in length and are scheduled for release in March, May and July 2003. A fourth video, scheduled for September 2003 release, has a running time of 44 minutes. The entire series is recommended for children ages 3 and up.

Hot Wheels® cars revolutionized boys" toys in 1968 with an original line of super-fast, customized cars built for speed, power and performance, wrapped in attitude. Now, 35 years later, Hot Wheels® is a global lifestyle brand that represents the coolest cars imaginable in scales from miniature to full-size. In addition to leading the way with innovative vehicles, playsets and tracks, Hot Wheels® cars are also popular collectibles for adults. For the latest information on Hot Wheels® cars, cruise over to www.hotwheels.com.

Mattel, Inc. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of family products. With headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel has offices and facilities in 36 countries and sells its products in more than 150 nations around the world. For more information on Mattel products, log on to www.mattel.com.

Mainframe Entertainment Inc. is one of the world's most prolific producers of computer animation for television and direct-to-videos and is expanding into long-form CGI for feature films, commercials and interactive entertainment. The company is best known as the pioneer of computer animated television series for the groundbreaking "ReBoot." Mainframe has produced over 230 half hours of computer animation since its inception in 1993. In addition to its award-winning "Barbie as Rapunzel" direct-to-video feature, the company is currently in production of 13 episodes of "Spider-Man" for Sony Pictures Television. The company employs over 200 artists, animators, technicians and production personnel, and has won many prestigious awards of its creative technical innovations, including a Laureate of the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards.


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