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Netflix is set to begin streaming the Chinese kids movie Boonie Bears: The Big Top Secret, the third film in the hit animated franchise.
The U.S. streamer will release the film in various local-language versions around the world. Netflix also picked up Boonie Bears Spring Into Action, an animated TV series comprised of 50 episodes that are each 13 minutes long.
Created and produced by China’s Fantawild Animation, Boonie Bears is arguably China’s most successful animated series, both in film and on television.
The film and TV series were sold from Fantawild to Netflix via Viva Pictures, the Los Angeles-based independent distribution company. The deal was jointly announced on Saturday at the European Film Market by Viva Pictures president Victor Elizalde and Fantawild’s Daisy Shang.
“We are very pleased that Netflix will be our platform worldwide to help introduce new audiences to this Chinese gem,” said Elizalde.
Co-directed by Ding Liang and Lin Yongchang, Boonie Bears 3 earned $44.5 million upon its release in China in 2016.
The Boonie Bears series features two bears, Briar and Bramble, who try to stop Logger Vick from destroying their forest home. Since its original release, there have been more than eight TV series and two TV movies created based on Boonie Bears, as well as five feature films. The films have collectively earned more than $200 million at the Chinese box office.
The fifth and most recent film in the franchise, Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink, opened in China on Friday, the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday. Despite facing off head-to-head with four other major Chinese blockbusters, the pic debuted to a robust $11.8 million. Including previews, Boonie Bears 5 has already racked up $30.2 million as of Saturday. It crossed the locally symbolic 100 million RMB mark ($15.7 million) faster than any other Chinese animation to date.
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