LOS ANGELES, Cali. — Kidz Bop Productions, the group behind the popular series of reproductions of popular adult songs featuring children singers, is expanding their reach and moving into reproducing popular contemporary films. Their first endeavor under the “Kidz Bop Filmz” label and due for release in August, is a remake of the 2011 Ryan Gosling hit “Drive” featuring 8-12 year old actors in the main roles. “Kidz Bop Filmz helps young people relate to more grown-up ideas by casting actors that they can identify with in those roles,” said Kidz Bop Productions spokesman Tom Cross.
Kidz Bop has come under some fire in the past for selecting songs that might not be appropriate for younger audiences, such as Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” and Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me.” While it’s true that Kidz Bop changes some of the more questionable lyrics, some feel that the messages in those songs – like the importance of partying all night, going to clubs, or getting married – are still too mature for their new demographic. Some parents have expressed similar concerns about Kidz Bop’z recent expansion into film. “In December, Kidz Bop Filmz will be releasing a ‘kid-friendly’ version of “Black Snake Moan,” complained Karen Angstrom, head of “Watch What They’re Watching,” a parental watchdog group dedicated to watching the watchers, “and while their version may not feature any of the original’s explicit violence or nudity, I just don’t believe kids are ready for a morality play featuring a nymphomaniac that’s been assaulted, left for dead, then imprisoned for her own good.”
Cliff Chenfeld, co-creator of Kidz Bop, assured parents in a recent press release that all steps are being taken to ensure that these movies will be acceptable for children. “Of course we wouldn’t show the graphic rape and beating of a woman in our film. In our version, she’s a girl (played brilliantly by 11 year old Ashlee Addison, I should add) who takes a plate of cookies to a party, and all the other kids eat her cookies without permission. When the Lazarus character – Jacob Lands, 10, incendiary actor on the rise – chains her to the radiator, it’s to teach her to stop letting everybody take your cookies. It’s an important message to kids about empowerment and self-respect.”
Currently in production are Kidz Bop Filmz versions of the Oliver Stone revenge drama “Savages” and the Channing Tatum romp “Magic Mike.” It is unconfirmed as of press time whether the rumors that Quentin Tarantino will be re-directing the Kidz Bop versions his films, which were licensed to Kidz Bop Productions in May.
Reporting by David Sharp. Twitter: @DavidAndSharp