October 23, 2009

Nickelodeon buys the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

tmnt2On Wednesday, Viacom purchased the rights of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million from the Mirage Group (who has owned the Turtles since their debut in 1984) and 4Kids Entertainment. Viacom’s sister company is Paramount Entertainment and Nickelodeon, which provides bright possibilities for the TMNT in the future.

Apparently, a new film has been slated for 2012 and will be produced by Scott Mednick (Superman Returns, Where the Wild Things Are, 300), but only conflicting sources can be found as to whether it will be live-action or CG. The movie will of course be produced through Paramount, breaking the previous molds of New Line Cinema (the live action trilogy of the 1990s) and Warner Brothers (the TMNT CG film). According to Turtles’ co-creator Peter Laird, film would be a Batman Begins style reboot that would start by telling the origins of the Turtles. There’s even rumor that Laird suggested the robotic mousers, the Turtle hunting machines that are the creations of mad scientist Baxter Stockman, would make an appearance in the film. A casting call earlier this year made it apparent that the Foot Clan would be in the movie as well, in which case it would be fair to assume so would the Shredder. However, this casting call may have been a bit premature considering the films development, as well as over-hyped by the media that reported it.

tmnt3Also in 2012 a new CG-animated TV series will premiere on Nickelodeon, who acquired all merchandising rights to the Turtles franchise. The current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated TV series (which is produced by both 4Kids and Mirage) will continue its regular airing schedule through October 31. Playmates Toys will work alongside Nickelodeon to continue producing Turtles merchandise.

Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group said of the buyout, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shares a comedic sensibility with the Nickelodeon DNA, with added layers of action and fantasy that have kept this property an evergreen favorite with multiple generations of audiences. We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to be able to focus on this property and creatively re-introduce it to a new generation of kids.”


tmnt5Personally, I think this is a great move and may have been pre-planned given how this is the TMNT’s 25th anniversary year. While I don’t expect to see a Doug or Rugrats crossover with the Turtles anytime soon, I do expect great things to come from this merger; especially when considering the recent buyouts of Disney with Marvel and Warner Brothers with DC. The TV series sounds like a cool idea as it has already been rebooted once back in 2003, which gave the Turtles a more modern feel to yesteryear’s generation. 2012 seems like an appropriate time for a reboot, and I think it being produced through Nickelodeon is only a positive thing. I’m also happy to hear that the toy line will stay with Playmates; I can still picture all of those old commercials like it was yesterday! As for the movie, I hope is live action- or at least a combo of live action and cool CG. If it actually will be a reboot, re-telling the origins of the Turtles, I’m ok with that so long as Shredder and April are a part of the story. Although, I did like how the 2007 TMNT film, despite being produced by WB and not New Line, still paid homage to the lore from the previous three films (remember the shot at the end of the film where the camera pans to a shelf of relics that included Shredder’s helmet, a T.G.R.I bottle, and the time scepter?). Also, would it kill someone to add Rocksteady, Bebop, and Krang to a TMNT story line that isn’t the 1980s/1990s cartoon? I mean yeesh, they were fan favorites!

turtles1Who would have guessed back in 1984 that this black and white, stapled together first issue that was a Ronin satire would turn into what it is today, and make Turtles’ creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman multi-millionaires? I guess it’s proof that you just never know what will catch on in this business. So what do you think of the buyout?

Andy Liegl



  1. Kristin

    I could swear I saw a movie poster for a new movie recently.
    Also, I thought there were already plans for a new live action. I heard about it a while ago, though.

    I don’t know much about Nickelodeon these days, but if it’s out of the hands of 4Kids, that’s already spectacular.

  2. Billy

    I hope it’s not a live action film. That sounds like a disaster.

  3. Congrats to the Mirage guys, especially Peter and Kevin…great to see their imaginative property thrive with continued popularity and success after all of these years!

  4. Princess Powerful

    …I just don’t know. It smells like trouble to me.

  5. Why a disaster billy? the first movie was a great step in live action and they pulled it off well. effects wise the movie should look good i’m more concerned about the story. i’m more excited about the acquisition because it seems like Nick wants to go foward w/ the franchise!

  6. Josh

    I’m a long time turtle fan, and It’s a tragedy to see the most commercially successful independent comic of all time get consumed by a faceless corporate entity.

    Great scoop Andy! This is huge comic book news! I re-posted the link to this article on my facebook, myspace, and twitter.

  7. TMNT have not been the same since I was a kid. Thanks to the Soccer moms of america and the FCC believing they can shield their children form violence made my favorite ninjas become G-rated when even when I was a kid though it could have more. I mean its in the movies and in the real world maybe that one of the reasons I like anime and manga over western comics and cartoons because they have the blood and profanity that I love. But nothing changes the TMNT will never be the same until we allow the main stream to become a little more egdy

  8. billy

    @speech-I think an animated/cg. I’m not a big turtle fan as far as the live action stuff. I thought the animated show was decent though. What was that guy’s name in the hockey mask. lol

  9. As I stated in the article, I think it’s a safe move by the franchise. They’re in good hands and I’m looking forward to further developments!

    Oh, and Billy, that guy with the mask is Casey Jones!

  10. Jeff Jackson

    Disney buys Marvel.

    Nickelodeon buys TMNT.

    What’s next…Lifetime television buys that sarcastic old lady from the greeting cards?

  11. billy

    @Andy-The writers must have been DeadHeads. lol

  12. […] October 2009 Viacom, the parent company of Paramount and Nickelodeon,¬†purchased the rights¬†to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million from Mirage Studios. Mirage has held exclusive […]

  13. […] pumped for this book. Ever since Mirage Studios sold the rights of the TMNT to Nickelodeon, we have been without a Turtles comic on the shelves, which is an […]

  14. […] you need to give the Turtles a go, and for the TMNT faithful who have been anxiously enduring the regime change, this book has throwbacks and old-school references […]

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