'Teletubbies' instigator tries hand at kids' movie

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NEW YORK — The marketing genius behind “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Teletubbies” knows how to capture the hearts and minds of toddlers. Now he’s after their feet.

For his next project, “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure,” Kenn Viselman is taking a new approach to the preschool audience. The movie opens Aug. 29 and will have auditory and visual cues that prompt the children to sing and dance in the aisles.

“Why do we try to make children do what they’re naturally not able to do at the age?” Viselman asks of making them sit still and quiet.

“We looked at the experience from a child’s point of view, and instead of saying to the child, come to the movie and be an adult, we want them to come to the movies and be a child,” he says. “Let children be children.”

Rather than create Computer Graphic Imagery to tell the story, Viselman opted for live action, using a host of stars including Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Toni Braxton, Jaime Pressly and others. It’s something he describes as a blend of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” for the kids and strong, well-known character actors for the adults.

Viselman is confident that “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” will change the movie experience for parents and children alike. And it better. He’s planning on showing on 3,200 screens.

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