Besides its ever-popular WWE wrestling games, THQ's biggest cash cow has been its licensing of kids' television shows and movies. The company has scored big hits with games based on the Nickleodeon network cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants and the Disney/Pixar blockbuster The Incredibles. However, the lack of a holiday Pixar film was a factor in THQ's year-on-year earnings decline during Q4 2005, although they remained in line with analysts' expectations.
Today, THQ announced it is adding another potentially lucrative franchise to its family-friendly arsenal. The company has landed exclusive rights to publish games based on the forthcoming Stormbreaker film, which is based on the popular Harry Potter-meets-James-Bond teen-espionage novels by Anthony Horowitz. The film follows Alex Rider, a 14-year-old Briton who discovers that his late uncle was killed by terrorists. He is then promptly hired by MI6 to go after the group that perpetrated the deed and becomes a top operative.
Directed by Geoffrey Sax ( White Noise, the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie), Stormbreaker is due in the UK in July and in the US in August. It is being cofinanced by the Weinstein Company, the ministudio founded by ex-Miramax heads Bob and Harvey Weinstein, which scored a family-movie hit this month with the Little Red Riding Hood parody Hoodwinked. Newcomer Alex Pettyfer has been cast as the lead in Stormbreaker, which costars Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Andy Serkis, and Robbie Coltrane.
As for the Stormbreaker game, it has been announced for only two platforms so far--the youngster-favored Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. The former will be developed by Razorback Developments (Lego Bionicle: Maze of Shadows), and the latter by Altron (Zoo Tycoon DS, the GBA version of The Simpsons Road Rage). Both currently have a "summer" release window, but neither has been priced or rated.