Cradle to Grave: Inside Hollywood’s Push Into Preschool Programming

Available to WrapPRO members

Batman for toddlers? Studios are realizing the importance of getting fans hooked on their biggest franchises when they’re young

"Batwheels" and "Bugs Bunny Builders" are at the forefront of Warner Bros.' push into preschool programming. (Warner Bros., Christopher Smith/TheWrap)

The preschool market has become an important programming initiative for entertainment companies and it speaks both to the importance of creating young (and hopefully lifelong) fans of their more seasoned franchises and to the ability to expand those franchises to several versions of the same character.

In March, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” was released theatrically. Somehow, Reeves’ version of the character (this time embodied with brooding intensity by Robert Pattinson) was the darkest yet. As the character explains in the opening, film noir-y voice-over, those who think that he hides in the shadows are wrong — he is the shadows. And just a few months later, “Batwheels” — a kind of version of Pixar’s “Cars” set in Gotham, with anthropomorphized vehicles — debuts on the Cartoonito preschool programming block of Cartoon Network and on HBO Max.