MIPCOM: StudioCanal to Launch 'Paddington' Animated Series

'Paddington 2'

StudioCanal's live-action feature film 'Paddington 2' hits theaters in Europe later this year.

Britain's favorite marmalade-loving bear is coming back to television, courtesy of a new animated series from France's StudioCanal.

StudioCanal said Monday that it has commissioned Paddington, a 52 x 11-minute animated series based on Michael Bond's beloved Paddington Bear character. The series, which will be pitched to networks at the MIPCOM TV market in Cannes next week, will target preschool audiences.

StudioCanal scored a big-screen hit with 2014's Paddington, Paul King's reboot of the classic kids' franchise. The film, produced by David Heyman and starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Nicole Kidman, along with Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington, grossed more than $270 million at the worldwide box office.

Paddington 2, also helmed by King, and with Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson added to the all-star British cast, rolls out across Europe and most of the world in November and December. The Weinstein Company will bow Paddington 2 in North America on Jan. 12.

Bond's Paddington stories have been adapted for television before, including for a long-running BBC series in the 1970s and 1980s and a shorter-lived version produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1989-1990.

The new series marks the latest effort by StudioCanal parent Vivendi to expand the Paddington franchise. The French media giant controls all intellectual property rights to Paddington Bear outside of classic publishing rights, via licensing agent Copyrights Group. In addition to the feature films, Vivendi's gaming subsidiary Gameloft recently announced a mobile game, Paddington Run, produced together with Copyrights Group.