DIC Entertainment Launches Famed Japanese Anime Hit Knights of the Zodiac in the U.S.; Bandai America is Awarded the Master Toy License; ADV is Granted Home Video Rights

Licensing 2003
BURBANK, Calif.--()--June 11, 2003--DIC Entertainment (DIC), in partnership with General Mills, today announced plans to bring Knights of the Zodiac, the famed Japanese property formerly known as Saint Seiya, to the U.S. market. Cartoon Network, U.S. will be airing 40 serial episodes of the show beginning in August, Bandai America Incorporated has been awarded the master toy license for the U.S. and Canada, and ADV has distribution rights for home video.

"Knights of the Zodiac is among the three biggest hits to ever come out of Japan; Power Rangers and Pokemon being the other two," said Andy Heyward, CEO and chairman, DIC Entertainment. "The success that Knights of the Zodiac has had internationally is phenomenal. Furthermore, there has never been a Japanese series that has been a mega-hit in Asia, Europe and South America that has failed to become a mega-hit in the U.S. We have every expectation that its seductive and hypnotic story line will generate the same amazing results here."

"Knights of the Zodiac was an international phenomenon particularly in Japan, where it originated, but also in Europe and Latin America," said Nancy Bassett, senior vice president of worldwide consumer products, DIC Entertainment. "Although there are a few recent examples of Japanese anime properties making it big in the U.S., we're not taking anything for granted. We are strategically planning the launch in close collaboration with Bandai America Inc. using both traditional and non-traditional marketing tools. Bandai America Inc. brings a lot of great knowledge to the table considering their long successful management of the Power Rangers franchise. We're close to announcing additional licensees at the Licensing Show."

Bandai America Inc.'s product line will consist of 5-inch and 8-inch action figures, collectible game cards, role play items and other toys based on the Knights of the Zodiac property. The Knights of the Zodiac follows the adventures of the Bronze Knight Seiya, as he leads his team in battle against Phoenix and the Black Knights. The toyline is slated to hit retail shelves in January 2004.

"Given the property's history and tremendous international popularity, we are excited to introduce the Knights of the Zodiac with action figures and toys that are exclusive to the U.S.," said Bill Beebe, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Bandai America Inc. "With our extensive experience on some of the most popular boys action brands today, including Power Rangers and Gundam, we expect the Knights of the Zodiac to be a hit with young kids who love action play."

Timed to coincide with the comprehensive merchandising launch, ADV, the number one distributor of anime content, has signed on to distribute 40 episodes of Knights of the Zodiac. The first release is scheduled to street in first quarter 2004.

About Knights of the Zodiac

Knights of the Zodiac is a fast-paced, futuristic action-adventure series which pits the forces of good against evil as the Knights of Athena battle the Knights of Aries for control of the sacred Golden Armor of Sagittarius and the world.

About DIC Entertainment

DIC Entertainment is a leading children's entertainment company with more than 3,000 half-hours of programming in its prolific library, ranked as the largest independent library of animation. DIC has also amassed an incomparable family of domestic and international broadcasters who air DIC programming in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Australia. Some of DIC's popular properties include "Sailor Moon(TM)," and such new shows as "Strawberry Shortcake(TM)," "Super Duper Sumos(TM)," "Madeline(TM)" "Liberty's Kids(TM)," and "Sabrina's Secret Life(TM)." More than 25 million children watch DIC's popular programs each week. DIC is a full service studio with production, development, distribution, home video, marketing and licensing departments.

About Bandai America Incorporated

Bandai America Inc. is a subsidiary of Bandai Co. Ltd., the third largest toy company in the world, with 27 subsidiaries in eight countries worldwide. Global interests include toys and children's entertainment, video game software, multimedia, music, full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies and licensed apparel.

Bandai America Inc. is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the master toy licensee of some of the most popular properties and brands in children's toys and entertainment, including the Power Rangers, Gundam, Digimon, Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty product lines. Bandai America is headquartered in Cypress, California and company information is available at www.bandai.com.

Contacts

DIC Entertainment
Kimberly Shepard, 818/955-5546
kshepard@dicentertainment.com
or
Rogers & Associates for Bandai America Inc.
Roberta Silverman/Cliff Jin, 310/552-6922 ext. 133/105
rsilverman@rogersassoc.com
cjin@rogersassoc.com

Contacts

DIC Entertainment
Kimberly Shepard, 818/955-5546
kshepard@dicentertainment.com
or
Rogers & Associates for Bandai America Inc.
Roberta Silverman/Cliff Jin, 310/552-6922 ext. 133/105
rsilverman@rogersassoc.com
cjin@rogersassoc.com