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As part of the entertainment industry’s ongoing search for original intellectual property, Fox is seeing green.
Fox Entertainment has acquired the Gumby franchise from the estate of Joseph Clokey, son of Gumby creator Art Clokey. The deal covers the iconic green clay-mation character, his horse Pokey, and all of the characters from Clokey’s animated universe.
Terms of the deal, which was announced in a release written in green Comic Sans font, were not disclosed.
The company says it plans to “reimagine” the Gumby franchise for new generations and is already at work on developing both live-action and animated content featuring the characters for its platforms. Fox will also showcase classic Gumby episodes on its Tubi streaming service and develop products based on Gumby and his friends, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and consumer goods.
“Competition for globally recognized intellectual property is fierce. Uncovering this gem, with its built-in awareness and affinity, and bringing it to Fox, adds meaningful value and creative possibilities to the IP itself and to multiple divisions of our company,” said Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier. “Fox is proud to be home to these iconic characters. Welcome one and all.”
Fox has been making a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years since spinning off most of its entertainment assets to Disney.
In the past couple of years it acquired the Bob’s Burgers animation studio Bento Box and MarVista Entertainment, and partnered with chef and Hell’s Kitchen host Gordon Ramsay on a production company Studio Ramsay Global. It also acquired the celebrity gossip site TMZ last year in a deal valued at less than $50 million.
Gumby, meanwhile, joins a growing list of IP that has come to market in recent years. Last year Netflix bought the Roald Dahl Story company, which controls the rights to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and other Dahl classics, in a deal worth $700 million. Amazon, meanwhile, struck a deal to buy MGM because of its “vast, deep catalogue of much beloved intellectual property,” according to Jeff Bezos. MGM controls the Rocky/Creed franchises, as well as Stargate and Silence of the Lambs, not to mention 50 percent of James Bond.
But because of its evergreen nature (no pun intended), kids’ content can be of particular value to entertainment companies. That is a big part of why Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs spent $2.7 billion on Moonbug Entertainment, which owns Cocomelon and Blippi, also betting that they can exploit the characters across platforms.
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