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HBO Max Develops ‘Westing Game’ Series, Crunchyroll Creates ‘Shenmue’

Fern Siegel

HBO Max is developing a series adaptation of the classic children’s mystery “The Westing Game.” The beloved book was published in 1978, a mystery-comedy about the death of millionaire Samuel Westing. His will kick-starts a game for his 16 heirs — the winners get the big prize: a $200 million fortune. The streamer is looking to build a lineup of YA content.

Here’s a look at other deals and upcoming projects:

  • Crunchyroll teamed with Adult Swim on the production of “Shenmue,” an original anime series based on the SEGA game franchise. The 13-episode anime series follows Ryo Hazuki, who dedicates his life to finding the man responsible for his father’s murder. This latest Crunchyroll-Adult Swim production will stream worldwide outside of Japan and mainland China on Crunchyroll and air on Adult Swim’s Toonami in the domestic U.S.

  • For “Frozen” fans who wondered what happened to Olaf after Elsa “let it go” and Anna and Kristoff met him in the forest — Disney+ has created his back story. The origins of the summer-loving snowman are revealed in the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated short, “Once Upon a Snowman.” The film follows Olaf’s first steps as he comes to life and searches for his identity in the mountains outside Arendelle. Directed by Trent Correy (“Frozen 2”), Olaf is voiced by Josh Gad.

  • “Invention Story” will debut in the U.S. via Kartoon Channel. The streaming service is distributed across major cable and satellite providers and OTT platforms. “Invention Story” is already airing in markets such as Italy, Russia, Hungary and China. The show’s popularity is worldwide — it streams on Kidoodle.TV, which has launched in all countries save China.

  • Harald Zwart, who helmed the Jaden Smith-fronted reboot of “The Karate Kid,” is slated to direct a TV thriller for Netflix. The Norwegian-language serial is told in six episodes. Written by Petter Holmsen, production has begun shooting in Skarnes, Norway.

  • “Mara Brock Akil,” The “Girlfriends” creator, has signed a development deal with Netflix to write and produce scripted content. UPN ran “Girlfriends” for eight seasons.

  • Coca-Cola is moving monies from traditional TV to streaming, especially on Netflix and Disney+.
    For Disney, Coca-Cola donated $1 million to the World Central Kitchen and streamed a conversation between “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chef Jose Andres at a special web site that paired Coke with “Hamilton.” For Netflix, it teamed to promote a new season of “Stranger Things” and publicize New Coke. The company has also talked with Hulu about possible options when viewers pause a show.