By Variety

LOS ANGELES — New Line Cinema, Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. are teaming up to develop an English-language film centering on Hello Kitty for the first time in her 45-year history.

New Line said the partnership marks the only time Sanrio, the Japanese company behind the toy, has granted film rights to Hello Kitty and friends, including Gudetama, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars, to a major film studio. Tuesday's announcement did not indicate whether the "Hello Kitty" feature film will be animated, live-action or a hybrid.

The "Hello Kitty" will be produced by Beau Flynn and executive produced by Wendy Jacobson for FlynnPictureCo. A search for writers and creative talent will commence immediately.

Hello Kitty was initially designed in 1974 and introduced on a coin purse a year later. She can be found in 130 countries on more than 50,000 different branded products each year.

"I am extremely pleased that Hello Kitty and other popular Sanrio characters will be making their Hollywood debut," Sanrio founder, President and CEO Shintaro Tsuji said. "Hello Kitty has long been a symbol of friendship and we hope this film will only serve to grow that circle of friendship around the world."

New Line executives Richard Brener and Carolyn Blackwood said in a joint statement, "We are thrilled to partner with Sanrio and FlynnPictureCo. on developing a film based on this treasured icon."

Flynn's producing credits include "Rampage," "Skyscraper," "San Andreas" and the "Journey to the Center of the Earth" franchise.