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Hasbro and Paramount Home Entertainment Announce Long-Term Video Distribution Relationship

GI Joe, Tonka, and Transformers coming to DVD this fall

By Rudy Panucci for

At the annual Licensing Show in New York this week, Hasbro and Paramount Home Entertainment announced agreement in principle in which Paramount will gain worldwide distribution rights to Hasbro's wide range of direct-to-video titles based on the Company's portfolio of entertainment brands.

Hasbro will develop and produce the content, and Paramount Home Entertainment plans to market and distribute the titles through their regular children's entertainment channels. The initial slate of brands on which Hasbro and Paramount will work together include G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, TONKA, DUEL MASTERS, SECRET CENTRAL, WEEBLES and CANDY LAND.

The first two titles, "G.I. JOE: VALOR VS. VENOM" and TONKA "TOUGH TRUCK ADVENTURES: THE BIGGEST SHOW ON WHEELS," are scheduled to hit retail this September, with the release of TRANSFORMERS ENERGON and "HAVE YOU HEARD?" SECRET CENTRAL to follow in October. Titles based on the remaining properties are expected to be released in the spring of 2005.

"This new relationship with Paramount Home Entertainment is an exciting way for us to continue the legendary sagas of properties such as TRANSFORMERS and G.I. JOE and to develop rich fantasies for new and classic brands," said Jane Ritson-Parsons, President of the Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development and licensing arm of Hasbro. "Paramount are worldwide leaders in this category, and together, we will broaden consumers' experience with our properties and provide new opportunities for retailers."

"We are very excited to work with Hasbro in bringing their exciting properties to the DVD world," said Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Home Entertainment. "Hasbro has long been a market leader with its toy and game brands, and this new product line will add significantly to our children's programming, appealing to boys and girls from their preschool to preteen years."

"GI Joe: Valor vs. Venom" is a cgi cartoon that will carry on the style and storylines set forth in last year's "GI Joe: Spy Troops" DVD, which was included as a premium with the Ninja Showdown action figure set. It's not clear if this deal will immediately cover Hasbro's library of animated cartoons, since GI Joe and Transformers are currently in release from other companies, but this agreement will guarantee Hasbro a spot in the new-release sections of the home video market for some time.