Hello Kitty is preparing to take theaters by storm, in a movie planned for global release in 2019.
Sanrio announced Thursday the feature will be produced by its new U.S. subsidiary Sanrio Media & Pictures Entertainment, with a budget of between $160 million and $240 million (presumably that includes marketing and distribution).
Introduced in 1975 on a purse, Hello Kitty -- full name, Kitty White -- has become a pop-culture and merchandising phenomenon, worth about $7 billion a year. The adorable Japanese bobtail cat has inspired everything from toys and jewelery to comics and video games. Last year, Hello Kitty even got her own convention, marking her 40th anniversary.
The character has starred in at least a half-dozen television series, beginning in 1987 with "Hello Kitty's Furry Tail Theater," which aired in Japan and the United States.
Sanrio, which owns the "Mr. Men" and "Little Miss" characters created by English author Roger Hargreaves, licensed the film rights to those properties in 2011 to Fox.