CANNES — Produced by David Heyman, “Paddington 2” will go into production in October in the U.K., Studiocanal confirmed Tuesday at Cannes. Film is also for sale at the Cannes market making it in all likelikhood the biggest-budgeted movie to be sold in the marketplace this year. The original “Paddington” was budgeted at $55 million and grossed nearly $270 million worldwide.
No cast is set but after the smash-hit success of the original “Paddington,” it is expected that Ben Whishaw (Paddington) along with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins will reprise their roles.
Directed again by Paul King, and co-written by King and Simon Farnaby, “Paddington 2” will be released on Nov. 24 2017 in the U.K. according to Studiocanal’s Rodolphe Buet.
The second installment is distributed by Studiocanal in the U.K., France, Germany and Australia/New Zealand, where it runs its direct distribution operations. The Peruvian bear comedy is fully-financed by Studiocanal, so will not subject to any financing contingency such as pre-sales.
With a screenplay being made available to distributors at Cannes, “Paddington 2” confirms Heyman/Studiocanal’s growth of a European icon franchise, a Vivendi/Studiocanal centerpiece content strategy and of course Heyman’s second, after “Harry Potter.”
It also ups the ante still further on Studiocanal’s filmed family entertainment ambitions, the movie line where, with action thrillers, it has enjoyed most success. “Paddington’s” $267 million worldwide marks the highest gross ever for a non-U.S studio released family film. It included a $76.7 million U.S. gross for new outfit Weinstein/Dimension, The Weinstein Company’s biggest U.S. B.O. trawl in 2015, beating “The Hateful Eight,” and TWC’s eighth best ever.
“We are close partners with Aardman, having established ‘Shaun the Sheep’ as a successful brand, and have “Early Man” in production. In all the Studiocanal territories, we have Studiocanal family projects in development or production,” Buet said, citing “Little Vampire,” adapting Joan Sfarr’s book, and “Mia and the White Lion” in France.
“Heidi” was a smash hit in Germany and an international sales success, he added. At Belgium’s nWave, one of the first production companies bought by Studiocanal, Ben Stassen has produced a series of 3D hits including a two part “Sammy’s Adventures” mini film franchise, plus “Thunder and the House of Magic.” Including “Paddington,” a live action movie with extensive CGI work which allows it to be classed as animation, Studiocanal placed four movies in a top 10 of Europe’s highest-grossing animated features, 2010-14, per a European Audiovisual Study published at Annecy last .
“Paddington” sparked very good to rave reviews, Variety’s Guy Lodge calling it “high-tech but thoroughly endearing.” Much of that credit must be put down to King, who teamed with Hamish McColl to write the first film and here will co-write with Farnaby, who acted in “Paddington” and starred in the King-directed “Bunny and the Bull.”