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HiT Entertainment (now known as Mattel Television) was a British-American entertainment company owned by Mattel and originally established in 1982 as Henson International Television. It was founded as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions.

They acquired Gullane Entertainment in July 2002 for approximately £144 million. In 2017, HIT was rebranded to Mattel Creations, then Mattel Television. The company is legally known as HIT Entertainment Limited due to copyright reasons. It is now used as the IP holder for Thomas & Friends merchandise, like TrackMaster and Thomas & Friends MINIS.

History

Henson International Television

HiT was originally formed as Henson International Television (hit!) in 1982 as a branch of the Jim Henson Company in order to coordinate the co-production of Fraggle Rock in London, England, United Kingdom. This subsidiary was later sold and retains none of the original Henson company architecture except for the name. It later rebranded itself as "HiT Entertainment".

HiT Entertainment

When Bob the Builder creator Keith Chapman was creating the series, he looked at other children's media such as Thomas the Tank Engine. However, he felt that it looked very old fashioned, as The Railway Series, the book series of which the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends television series was based off, was written back in the 1940s. Despite this, it was still one of the most successful British preschool television series, and so Chapman thought that surely a construction concept could be as big as Thomas. HiT was not too sure if it would, but for a few years since its televised debut in 1999, Bob the Builder would actually become more popular than Thomas until the late 2000's where its popularity eclipsed as Thomas becoming HiT's #1 Brand, and continuing it's run as the #1 Preschool Brand at the time.[1]

They acquired Gullane Entertainment (formerly The Britt Allcroft Company) on 5 July 2002.[2] Then, Gullane was purchased and went defunct in 2003. After HiT purchased Gullane, it produced their own series of Thomas episodes and merchandise. HiT acquired the television rights for Thomas & Friends in 2002, during the airing of the sixth series and the filming of the seventh series. The company continued production on the show until Series 20.

On 1 February 2012, it was announced that Mattel purchased HiT Entertainment from Apax Partners, its previous owners, for $680 million (US). Other bidders included Viacom, Disney, Chorion, Hasbro, Saban Brands, and Tomy.

HiT announced a DVD distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on 2 May 2014. In early summer 2015, Edaville USA amusement park opened a licensed Thomas Land theme area based on Thomas & Friends.

On August 22, 2017, HiT Entertainment was rebranded as Mattel Creations for business and distribution reasons.

Mattel Playground Productions was closed later that year, but reformed as Mattel Films.

Staff

Releases

UK VHS and DVD Releases

HiT Favourites DVD Releases

AUS VHS and DVD Releases

NZ VHS Release

US and Canadian VHS and DVD Releases

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External Links

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