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A canine star of the film shows off his mallard toy


The American Kennel Club (AKC®), a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and is committed to advancing canine health and well-being, today announced an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising to produce a co-branded pet product line for the upcoming movie Marley & Me. This feature film adaptation of John Grogan’s New York Times bestselling memoir, about his adorable but naughty and neurotic yellow Labrador Retriever, will debut on Christmas day 2008.

Under the agreement, JAKKS Pets, an industry leader in dog toys and treats, will create a co-branded AKC/Marley & Me puppy line, adult line, and gift sets.

The AKC and Twentieth Century Fox have collaborated previously on films (such as 2007’s Firehouse Dog) in order to promote responsible dog ownership messages. The AKC built on this relationship to create a full line of AKC and Marley & Me licensed pet products to be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores beginning November 2008.  4sight licensing solutions, a subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., and exclusive worldwide licensing agent of the American Kennel Club, helped orchestrate this agreement and managed the process.

“We are excited to be working with the AKC, an organization synonymous with the care and well-being of dogs,” said Jamie Hamilton, Executive Director of Feature Film Productions, Twentieth Century Fox.

“There is a truly organic fit between licensed pet goods and this new film,” added Dan Shapiro, Executive Director, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising.  “With the AKC’s expertise and nearly 125-year history, we have created an array of top-notch pet products that will strengthen the bond between dog owners and their faithful companions.”

“This heartwarming story about the unconditional love and devotion between a dog and his owner lends itself perfectly to AKC’s mission as an advocate for responsible dog ownership,” said Gail Miller, Director of Marketing, AKC.  “We are thrilled to share in the positive message Marley & Me sends about the joys of dog ownership and to offer a new line of co-branded products that will enhance the experience of owning a dog.”

“This relationship between the AKC and the Marley & Me brand is a natural alliance,” said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. “The book’s immense popularity is going to be re-energized by the film which will in turn invigorate an already booming market for quality pet products.”