Catalyst: Mutant Mayhem
Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Disclaimer: Asian Century Stocks uses information sources believed to be reliable, but their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information contained in this publication is not intended to constitute individual investment advice and is not designed to meet your personal financial situation. The opinions expressed in such publications are those of the publisher and are subject to change without notice. You are advised to discuss your investment options with your financial advisers. Consult your financial adviser to understand whether any investment is suitable for your specific needs. I may, from time to time, have positions in the securities covered in the articles on this website. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell stocks.
I’ve spoken positively about the 2023 box office, about how movie-goers are finally returning to the cinemas. The outlook for the cinema industry is finally positive again.
In this post, I’ll dig deeper into one franchise: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (“TMNT”). This franchise might have a renaissance with Seth Rogen’s new movie Mutant Mayhem, due to be released on 2 August 2023.
This release will have important implications for two stocks listed in Hong Kong. Two stocks that I’m paying close attention to.
The TMNT franchise
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was originally a comic book published in 1984 and written by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
The story is about four teenage turtles - Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michaelangelo - exposed to radioactive waste, which gave them supernatural powers.
The teenagers were then trained in the art of ninjutsu by their rat master, “Splinter”. They use their abilities to fight crime in a dark, rainy New York City infested with crime and dangerous villains, including the evil character “Shredder”.
The original books were meant as a parody of the popular superhero comics of the time, such as Daredevil and X-Men. The series' lighthearted tone has carried on, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being more humorous than the average Marvel or DC superhero franchise.
The first animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show aired on Fox Kids in 1987. But it wasn’t until 1990 that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze really took off, with the first live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie released in cinemas. It had a budget of just US$13.5 million yet brought in over US$200 million at the box office.
The movie’s sequels were not nearly as successful, but several games on Nintendo’s video game consoles kept interest in the franchise.
In 2007, a 3D-animated movie with called TMNT was released in cinemas. The movie did okay at the box office, but reviewers complained of a lack of substance.
The franchise's revival came in 2012 when new owner Nickelodeon launched its 3D-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series. It became the #1 TV show for boys during its premiere and got a high 7.9/10 score on IMDb. Soon after, the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles real-action movie was a massive success and brought in nearly US$500 million at the box office. This movie and its 2016 sequel led to spikes in sales of related toys. Finally, since 2018, we’ve seen a TV series and movie released on Netflix under the name of The Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The reason I’m paying attention to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is because significant change is coming.
On 2 August, Hollywood actor and producer Seth Rogen will release a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie called Mutant Mayhem.
This is what we know about the movie so far:
The screenplay is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, a duo that’s previously come up with hits such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, Sausage Party and The Interview.
The movie's plot is about the four teenage ninja turtles trying to be accepted as normal teenagers by taking on a mysterious New York City crime syndicate with an army of mutants.
The movie’s voice actors include John Cena, Seth Rogen, Ice Cube, Post Malone, Paul Rudd, Jackie Chan and several other major Hollywood stars.
The animation style resembles Japanese anime, with a low frame rate and exaggerated human features, including large eyes.
The movie is produced by Seth Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures with a budget of US$200 million, making it the most expensive Teenage Mutant Ninja Movie ever made. Paramount will distribute it.
The release window will be 2 August in the United States all the way to 22 September in Japan.
The reception has been positive overall. A few comments on the trailer:
“It's crazy how we are living in somehow like a golden era for animation industry. The quality of animated movies these days are more unique and animators are trying different things to give new flavors to it. I love it!”
“This actually looks awesome.. I love how the brothers are younger teens.. they’re always depicted as so much older and more serious.. looks like a great kids movie”
“The Turtles having younger-sounding voices is such a nice change of pace. It makes them more relatable for younger kids.”
“Won't lie. I actually want to see this movie. I was there when TMNT was brought into the world. Ah, the nostalgia.”
“I love this version already. It's a cool mix of previous takes on the Turtles, it's colorful and exciting, GORGEOUS, it has an actual teenage vibe and actors, they do feel young, naive, more childish like just into middle school- bro I'm definitely watching this.”
Seth Rogen said in an interview that the movie is meant to resonate with young boys and girls who are looking to be part of something greater and who want to feel like they belong:
“We found a way to make it deeply personal. It’s a teenage movie, we’re putting a lot of our own feelings - of awkwardness and insecurity and a desire to belong and be accepted and all that - into the movie”
Will it be successful? I think so. One Seth Rogen movie that reminds me of Mutant Mayhem is Sausage Party, which brought in US$141 million at the box office. But with far greater brand recognition for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise and also targeting the younger demographic, I’m confident the movie will reach well above US$200 million in sales.
And there’s more coming. Cinelinx reported that Seth Rogen is also working on a related TV series for Paramount+. The new Seth Rogen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series is rumoured to launch in 2024 or 2025.
Playmates Toys (869 HK)
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial