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Flash Gordon Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Flash Gordon Celebrates 40th Anniversary

December 5 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1980 cult classic film Flash Gordon featuring an iconic soundtrack by the rock band Queen. King Features Syndicate, a unit of Hearst and home to some of the world’s most popular entertainment characters, is celebrating this milestone with theatrical screenings, fresh content and home entertainment, plus new licensed products and publishing. 

“Flash Gordon’s comic adventures have influenced how we define the modern science fiction genre, but the 1980 film is what really solidified the comic star as a lasting pop-culture icon,” said Carla Silva, vice president and general manager, global head of licensing for King Features. “We are thrilled to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the film this year with such a strong lineup of partners from across the globe. It’s our mission to continue bringing fans new Flash Gordon products and experiences that showcase their love for the savior of the universe.” 

This summer, STUDIOCANAL, Europe’s leader in production, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series, brought Mike Hodges’ cult classic film back to the big screen in 4K Ultra-High definition at Picturehouse Central, The Luna Drive In Cinema and other select U.K. cinemas with additional screenings across France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand throughout the year. 

STUDIOCANAL’s 40th Anniversary 4K restoration of Flash Gordon was scanned from the original 35mm negative to produce 4K files. Over 500 hours of manual restoration repaired serious damage that included image instability, scratches and intermittent flicker. The sound was scanned from the original track negative and underwent restoration to improve issues ranging from audio dropouts throughout the feature and during reel changes, digital clicks and optical distortion. This restoration was approved by director Mike Hodges in May 2020 and includes the first 4K HDR Dolby Vision master of Flash Gordon

Launching on Sunday, November 15, this all-new, original comic strip anthology project features 40 world-renowned artists and illustrators, each telling the story of Flash Gordon through their own unique lens.

Flash Gordon: A Minute to Save the World, the first-ever Flash Gordon motion comic series, is making its world debut at the Fathom Events theatrical screening on November 15 when the first five 60-second episodes play on screen. This new twist on classic comic storytelling uses a fresh animation style to follow Flash Gordon’s battle to save earth from Ming the Merciless. The motion comic series is produced by King Features and drawn by David Reddick and will be available to watch on the Comics Kingdom YouTube Channel beginning Sunday, November 15. 

A robust lineup of Flash Gordon inspired merchandise and licensed products, including board games, artwork, collectibles and much more: 

  • • Available now, Boss Fight Studio, a creator-owned company focused on high-quality, collectible toys, debuted its Flash Gordon figure for the 40th anniversary, which is the first Hero H.A.C.K.S. licensed character. The figure features extensive articulation, multiple hands, multiple heads and a “football” accessory to allow fans to build their collections and continue customizing in a special way. This limited-edition figure comes packaged in a collectible retro lunchbox featuring a mix of classic movie poster art and brand-new art created by superstar comics artist, Erica Henderson. This limited-edition figure is the first in the Flash Gordon line from Boss Fight Studio featuring both comic and movie version characters. 
  • • King Features is also in developing a new line of Flash Gordon figures with National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA). 
  • Plastic Meatball – creator of pop culture products that should have been, but never were – is developing a retro style Flash Gordon family board game that is launching with a Kickstarter campaign later this year, as well as a series of ‘70s style “Heat Transfer” t-shirts, enamel pins with iconography from the film, a set of four drinking glasses and an ‘80s style jigsaw puzzles inspired by the film. 
  • • Additional product launches include new stylish art prints inspired by the cult sci-fi film from Art & Hue and Vice Press, Flash Gordon-inspired apparel from CEND International and Trademark Products and a Flash Gordon: Death to Ming card game coming soon from Wayland Games. 

King Features is also expanding its publishing program for the brand with the launch of a 40th anniversary title from Titan Books titled Flash Gordon: The Official Story of the Film, on December 1. 

Fans of the iconic sci-fi film can also watch from the comfort of their homes thanks to the release of new home entertainment from STUDIOCANAL and Arrow Films/MVD. STUDIOCANAL has made the title 

available on DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook available in the U.K., Germany and Australia. A special 5-Disc 4K UHD Collector’s Edition also launched but sold out quickly as fans claimed them for their personal archives. Special features in the collector’s edition include audio commentary with Mike Hodges and Brian Blessed, behind-the-scene shots of Flash Gordon, storyboards gallery, original theatrical trailer, interview with Mike Hodges and much more. 

In the U.S. and Canada, Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group released a Flash Gordon 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray ($49.95) in lavish packaging with a host of extras. The title is also available in Standard Blu-ray ($39.95). 

40TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION TOUR 

Flash Gordon himself, actor Sam Jones, embarked on an anniversary tour this year with stops across the country, including one where he was presented with a custom made 40th Anniversary Flash Gordon Harley-Davidson motorbike. Upcoming dates for Jones’ tour can be found on his social channels. 

& MORE TO COME 

As King Features continues Flash Gordon’s 40th anniversary celebration throughout 2021, fans can expect to see a fresh look for Flash Gordon and his crew as new character art developed by popular comic book cover artist, Amelia Vidal (Marvel Studios, Boom! Studios), is released. And looking ahead, a new Flash Gordon feature film is in development with 20th Century. Taika Waititi, director of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnorok and Jojo Rabbit, is attached to the production. In the meantime, the latest Flash Gordon content can be found at www.ComicsKingdom.com and the Comics Kingdom YouTube channel. 

About Flash Gordon The heroic earthling has been celebrated for over eight decades by loyal fans who have explored the stars with comics’ most famous intergalactic adventurer, fellow space explorer and ally, Dale Arden, and scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov as they fight to free the universe from the tyranny of Ming the Merciless. Created in 1934 by legendary comic-strip artist Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon has set the standard for science fiction adventure. In 1980, the cult classic theatrical film, Flash Gordon, combined elements of science fiction and fantasy, and with a soundtrack by Queen and groundbreaking costume design. The film attracted a wide fan base, and quickly solidified its legacy in pop culture. King Features is joined by partners around the world to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary with a robust merchandise and entertainment program throughout the year. 

About King Features King Features is a premier producer and distributor of the world’s most iconic intellectual properties and a leader in classic character licensing and franchise development. With one of the longest-running consumer products programs in the industry, King Features’ portfolio includes world renowned pop culture brands such as Popeye®, Cuphead, Flash Gordon™, The Phantom™, PUCCA, Hägar the Horrible, Moomin, Prince Valiant® and Mandrake the Magician. King Features will produce The Cuphead Show! with Netflix Animation, set to debut in 2021. As content syndication specialists, the company distributes beloved comics such as Blondie, Beetle Bailey®, Mutts™ and dozens of others as well as columns, editorial cartoons and puzzles across multiple platforms and content providers around the globe. King 

Features is part of Hearst Newspapers, which publishes 24 dailies and 52 weeklies, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Times Union (Albany, New York), and operates local digital marketing services and directories. 

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at becky@totallicensing.com

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