We can just feel Universal Pictures execs Jeff Kirschenbaum and Anikah McLaren positively frothing as they get ready to bring the hugely popular strategic game and anime series “Bakugan Battle Brawlers” to the big screen. ‘Bakugan‘ will be helmed by director Harald Zwart, whose reboot of “The Karate Kid” was the bona fide sleeper hit of 2010. But that’s not what they’re excited about. The Toy Industry Association named Bakugan Battle Brawlers “Toy of the Year” for the second year running and the propensity for a mega merchandise tie in with familiar Transformer-type characters, including special marbles that turn into monsters is, well, something to froth at the mouth about.
The story will be spun out of the Saga and Spin Master game and anime series. Ronnen Harary of Spin Master Ltd. is producing with Scott Stuber and exec producer Jon Mone, both from Universal-based Stuber Pictures.
Zwart was previously best known for “Agent Cody Banks” and “The Pink Panther 2.” “The Karate Kid” remake starring Jaden Smith, grossed $358 million worldwide and propelled Smith and Zwart onto the hot list. It will be interesting to see how Zwart will approach this project judging by his eclectic, though kid-friendly, feature list. — Ginger Liu [The Wrap]