The company behind the “PJ Masks” cartoon series and toys is showcasing a four-part special and announcing several new episodes of the popular kid’s show the week before National Super Hero Day. The episode drop also coincides with an April 23, in person event at theaters nationwide, where children are encouraged to dress up on costume and watch four new episodes of the show at their local movie theater. The 88-minute event will introduce the special, “Heroes of the Sky,” and also features dancing, music videos and is one of many live events that keep the show’s characters, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, front and center for the early childhood set.
The new episodes are dropping at an opportune time for the franchise, which is produced by eOne that was recently purchased by Hasbro, which in February announced new “show to shelf” toys based upon the TV series. The release speaks to the demand for such content. Kids – and parents – have been starving for a consistent stream of new episodic ‘toon content ever since the pandemic began. Netflix and Amazon, among others, have been working overtime to fill the space and provide new shows – and old classics – to kids whose parents leaned a bit more on TV than in previous years due to the extended Covid-19-related school and daycare closures. In fact, according to Parrot Analytics, demand for children’s tv content was up 51.5% from Jan 2020 to Feb 2022, “much higher than the demand for all other content, which was up 18.4% over the same time.”
The new “PJ Masks” episodes are part of a larger, and ongoing, surge in children’s content even as pandemic restrictions ease. These new episodes broaden the universe of the heroes who are kids by day and superheroes with animal qualities by night. It’s a welcome addition to the universe – especially for parents whose kids have been watching older episodes on repeat, waiting for new characters to freshen the feel of the show and eventually the toy box when birthdays and holidays come back around.
The first episodes in the new story arc, which introduced speed-obsessed twin villains Carly and Cartoka, already released on streaming services and on Disney Jr. last week. The special theatre tie in will continue the run with four additional episodes.
It’s an interesting choice, to bring to the movie theatre what many of us can watch at home. But the nationwide, multi-city event, put together by eOne and Fathom Events, makes sense for where we are as a nation. A year ago, such a gathering of young kids might be unfathomable to many in big cities with large Covid-19 positive rates, but now, such an outing offers a chance to get out the house at the end of winter in some climes, as well as offering a chance to engage children in age appropriate movie theater fare. Re-acclimating to a theater in a small will also in contribute to movie going habits for this summer.
PJ Masks premiered in September 2015 on Disney Jr, and had a strong showing even early in the game, attracting over 1.5 million viewers. The cartoon is based on Romuald Racioppo’s popular book series ‘Les Pyjamasques.’ For 2022, after five seasons, the show runs on both Disney + and Netflix.