Mattel’s ‘Thomas & Friends’ Spinoff To Get China Theatrical Release

“Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure,” a feature film spin-off from Mattel’s “Thomas & Friends” children’s animation series, is to get a theatrical release in China.

The film, which features Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne in the English-language voice cast, will be released on Feb. 20 through state-owned Huaxia Distribution. Production is by Canada’s Arc Productions and the U.K. pre-school entertainment specialist HIT Entertainment.

Mattel reports that the film will be released on 5,000 screens in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Chengdu and Shenyang. The Mandarin-dubbed release will be preceded by a premiere in Shanghai on Feb. 18.

The outing will be the first time a Mattel-owned brand has seen a theatrical release in China, and will be the first non-native children’s movie to be released in China following the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays.

“Sodor” sees  Thomas the Tank Engine on a treasure quest that introduces a host of new characters and songs, alongside classic characters such as The Fat Controller, Percy, James and Gordon.

The “Thomas & Friends” TV series is available in China through all major digital platforms including iQiYi, YouKu, QQ, Sohu, Le Eco, TMall Box, BesTV and others.

“This is an historic and unprecedented moment in the development of the ‘Thomas & Friends’ franchise in China. The reach and scale of this theatrical release means we can engage with families and children in a whole new way by bringing Thomas to the big screen across the country,” said Peter Broegger, MD of Mattel in the Asia Pacific region.

“Sodor” debuted in the U.S. and parts of Europe in 2015. A release in Japan, through Tokyo Theaters, is scheduled for April.

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