The Next ‘Paw Patrol’ Mission: A Movie for 4-Year-Olds

“Paw Patrol: The Movie” aims to be a superhero tentpole for the string-cheese set.

Thanks to the hugely successful Nickelodeon “Paw Patrol” series, more than six in 10 preschoolers around the globe know what “Paw Patrol’’ is, according to market researcher Kidz Global. Now the movie’s producers say it’s time to go after the remaining four.

“This is the biggest turning point for the franchise to date,” Brian Robbins, president and chief executive at Nickelodeon, says of the G-rated movie opening in U.S. theaters and streaming on Paramount+ on Aug. 20. 

The 85-minute “Paw Patrol” movie is the first full-length film from Spin Master, a Toronto-based toy, entertainment and digital game company. With the animated movie, it enters an increasingly crowded big-screen arena. Mattel Inc. has a subversive “Barbie” feature in the works with AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie. Hasbro Inc. is planning a “Dungeons & Dragons” film adaptation, also with Paramount, featuring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Regé-Jean Page.

Movies geared toward children ages 2 to 5 are risky. The target audience is narrow and has an early bedtime. A flood of streaming alternatives keeps preschoolers busy at home. The group, for whom G-rated options are increasingly limited, has short attention spans and scares easily. And any theatrical release is fraught in a pandemic, but especially so when the key demographic is unvaccinated.

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