PARIS– Hot off the runaway success of “Paddington,” Studiocanal is once again demonstrating the strength of its family entertainment biz with its latest franchise-based animation feature “Shaun The Sheep Movie.”
Penned and helmed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak for Aardman Animation, “Shaun,” which has just opened in Asia, has already scored $21 million ($18.8 million) from 2.5 million admissions worldwide. The movie has yet to open in approximately 40 markets, with the next raft of releases set to take place this week in South Africa, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Vietnam.
Based on the hit stop-motion TV series, “Shaun” marks the first collaboration between Studiocanal and Aardman Animation. The Paris-based company told Variety that it is eager to partner again with the U.K. shingle.
“Shaun,” a non-verbal, gag-ladden comedy following the adventures of a brave and endearing sheep, world-premiered at Sundance to warm reviews. It will be released in the U.S. by a soon-to-be-annonced distributor.
So far, Studiocanal has racked up $15.9 million (€14 million) from 1.8 million admissions in the U.K., one of the five markets where it operates. The studio will next release the film in Germany (March 19), Australia and New Zealand (March 26) and France (April 1).
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In the UK, “Shaun” managed to surpass its main competitor “Big Hero 6” over the school break and broke the £10 million ($15.4 million) mark. It grossed £680K on Sunday and a total to £2.4 million over the weekend.
Although the school break is over in the U.K., Studiocanal expects “Shaun” to continue having a healthy box office run before its second rival, “Spongebob,” comes out on March 20.
In Asia, “Shaun” bowed at the start of the Chinese New Year holiday and scored strong results in Hong Kong and Singapore.
In Hong Kong, for instance, “Shaun” has sold 25,935 admissions over four days, on par with the performances of “Puss’n Boots” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” It opened to $193,000 (€170,000) from 25 screens, surpassing by far the score of “Pirates! Band of Misfits” and “Arthur Christmas.”
In Europe, “Shaun” has also delivered a good perf in the few territories where it has already opened. In Italy, where the film came out on Feb. 12, “Shaun” still ranks in the top 5 and even posted a two-percent increase over the weekend. It has so far grossed $1,885,378 (€1,662,004) with 256,793 admissions in that market.
And across Scandinavia (excluding Denmark), “Shaun” has already taken nearly $2 million. Studiocanal says “Shaun” is holding up to “Spongebob” and “Big Hero 6” with a $583K gross.
Over the last couple years, Studiocanal has emerged as a European leader in upscale family entertainment production and distribution. Its franchise-based “Paddington,” reportedly produced on a $55 million budget, has already grossed over $222 million worldwide.