The Chipmunks are for sale?! That’s nuts! (we’re already out of chipmunk puns, sorry to disappoint) The creator of the hugely successful and long-running franchise – Alvin and the Chipmunks – has put Alvin, Simon and Theodore up for sale. You could take the cute little furry friends home – if you have a spare $300 million.
The characters were created by Ross Bagdasarian way back in 1958 – when they featured on the single Witch Doctor, but didn’t get their names until a record released later that same year – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late). The Alvin Show started in 1961. It is the original creator’s son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr who is looking to sell the rights to the characters.
The franchise has spawned multiple albums, animated TV series and live-action films, with a resurgence in popularity since the 2007 movie starring Jason Lee as Dave – the chipmunks adopted human father.
According to CNBC, Bagdasarian Jr has held talks with potential buyers, including ViacomCBS (who own Paramount+) and is looking for a figure around $300 million.
Streaming services are on the hunt for existing IP that they can use to bulk up their offerings. Netflix recently acquired Roald Dahl’s catalogue for a reported figure of $700 million. Apple have exclusive streaming rights to Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts characters – including the beloved It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Disney currently owns the four live-action films (made between 2007-2015) since they acquired 20th Century Fox, so it would make sense for them to also acquire the IP.
The Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action film series has been savaged by critics, with the lowest-rated having 12% on Rotten Tomatoes and the highest (the first movie) just 28%. If you are not a parent who has had to sit through them, count yourself lucky.
Whoever does acquire the rights to the characters would probably be better served by returning to fully animated TV shows or movies, but the popularity of the squeaky-voiced critters looks set to be around fur-ever (sorry, sorry).