Studiocanal is developing a Paddington animated series, the company announced Monday in the run-up to this weekend’s MipJunior. It is part of the European production-distribution studio’s drive into family franchise entertainment based on European intellectual properties.
Like the feature films that have preceded it, the toon series will be based on Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear stories. It will consist of 52 episodes, each 11 minutes long, and is scheduled to launch at the end of 2018 or early 2019. Although the show will be designed for a broad audience, it will particularly target preschoolers.
News of the Paddington animated series – Studiocanal refrains from calling it a TV series in its press statement, a mark of how important digital platforms now are in kids and family entertainment – comes 16 months after the company acquired nearly all of the Paddington Bear brand worldwide.
In a month, Studiocanal will world-premiere “Paddington 2” (pictured), directed by Paul King and produced by David Heyman, opening it in the U.K. on Nov. 10, in France on Dec. 6 and in the U.S. in January. Gameloft, Studiocanal and The Copyrights Group have also announced that they are teaming to develop “Paddington Run,” the official mobile game of the sequel film.
The original film, released in 2014 and pitched as much at parents as children, earned $290 million worldwide at the box office, Studiocanal’s biggest theatrical tally ever and the highest gross for a non-U.S. studio-released family film, according to Studiocanal estimates.
The Paddington Bear brand purchase was “consistent with Studiocanal’s drive to develop into a European group organized along the lines of a Hollywood studio, by looking to garner a larger share of profits accruing from tie-ins with the movie sequels and new TV series,” Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst at IHS Technology, said at the time.
A Paddington TV series would be “important in sustaining the property, because even a successful movie tends to have a short-term impact because it’s only in cinemas for a few weeks,” Westcott added.