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WIRE Buzz: Green Hornet rights find new home; Netflix developing Matilda movie musical; and more

By Josh Weiss
The Green Hornet

Do you hear that angry buzzing? It's the sound of The Green Hornet screen rights landing at Amasia Entertainment, the company announced today. The production company was founded by Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo. In particular, Helfant is the former president of Marvel Studios.

“When I was a kid, The Green Hornet was one of my favorite television series,” Helfant said in a statement. “I loved everything about it – The Green Hornet, Kato, and of course, the Black Beauty. They were the coolest!  It was personally painful to leave them all behind when I left Dimension. So I tried to option the property again at Marvel before it went over to Sony, and then again in 2017 before the rights landed at Paramount.”

“On behalf of the family of George W. Trendle and The Green Hornet, Inc., we are excited to be working with Amasia Entertainment to bring the legacy of The Green Hornet & Kato back to theaters," added Linda Trendle Hartle, president of The Green Hornet Inc.

The Green Hornet

Created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, the Green Hornet began his pop culture career via a classic radio program in the 1930s. A sort of Batman-esque vigilante (although he predates the Caped Crusader by three years), the Hornet is actually Britt Reid, a wealthy newspaper publisher who fights crime at night with his sidekick Kato.

The Hornet became even more iconic in the late 1960s when the character received his own television series. While it only ran for one season of 26 episodes on ABC, the show helped make Bruce Lee — who played Kato — a star. His involvement with the project was somewhat lampooned in Quentin Tarantino's most recent movie, Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.

There have been numerous comics and films made about Reid and Kado, but the most recent adaptation of The Green Hornet was a 2011 film from director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), which starred Seth Rogan and Jay Chou. The flick — which also featured Cameron Diaz, David Harbour, and Christoph Waltz — wasn't all that well received critically or financially, and Sony decided to scrap a planned sequel.

"This is one of the only stand-alone classic superhero franchises," concluded Helfant. “We’re a bunch of fan geeks at Amasia and are thrilled about creating something fresh and truly worthy of this legacy property.  A new world that is relevant and thrilling, while respecting and honoring the original vision of creator George W. Trendle.”

"As long as I’ve known Michael, he has expressed his loving ‘nerddom’ for Green Hornet and passed on his addiction to me,” said Gallo in his own statement. "I am looking forward to bridging the film worlds of America and Asia – and I’m very grateful to be on this journey with Michael, Amasia, the Green Hornet family and fellow fans!”

Nineties kids rejoice! Netflix has teamed up with Sony to adapt the Matilda stage musical for film, writes The Hollywood Reporter. No comments were made at this time, and it's unclear how the two companies are going to "go Dutch" on the cost of production.

However, it has been confirmed that Matthew Warchus has been hired to direct the movie. Warchus previously helmed the stage version, which won a number of Laurence Olivier Awards in 2012. He's got very big shoes to fill, considering how the 1996 film adaptation directed by Danny DeVito (and starring Mara Wilson) is universally beloved by those who grew up watching it.

Matilda 1996

Both the movie and musical are based on the 1988 novel by Roald Dahl, which centers on a young girl with a great intellect and telekinetic powers, who forms a bond with a kind-hearted teacher when the rest of the adults in her life turn out to be pretty reprehensible people.

The new movie will be released in theaters and on home video in the U.K. before hitting Netflix.

Almost two years ago, we reported that the streaming company was developing a bunch of animated series based on the works of Dahl, including Matilda. Since then, however, there haven't been any updates.

THR also brings word that Disney+ announced a slate of fresh unscripted content this week like The Quest, Meet the Chimps, and a currently untitled Pixar-centric docu-series.

The Quest is actually an established show, which ran on ABC for just one season in the summer of 2014. Filmed near a castle in Vienna, the reboot will utilize a mixture of "live-action role-playing and traditional reality competition" via its cast of teenage contestants.

Meet the Chimps is a six-part nature program set at a 200-acre primate refuge sanctuary known as "Chimp Haven" in Louisiana.

The untitled Pixar show follows a group of the studio's animators as they create short films for the SparkShorts program that gave us Purl, Smash and Grab, Kitbull, Float, Loop, and Wind.

“These projects take people on epic adventures, immerse them in fantastical worlds and shine a light on extraordinary people and creatures, which are all important benchmarks of our Disney+ nonfiction content philosophy,” said Disney+ Content Senior VP Agnes Chu in a statement run by THR.