Iconic European animated character Miffy is set to become the star of a live-action feature film made for Chinese audiences.
The move follows an agreement between Netherlands-based publisher and rights holder Mercis, Chinese producer Beijing WD Pictures and Italy’s Orisa Produzione.
The Miffy character, a rabbit who likes to draw and play with friends, was created by Dutch cartoonist Dick Bruna, who died last year. With more than 120 books published and 85 million copies sold since 1955, “Miffy“ has become particularly popular in parts of Asia, including China and Japan. TV series and an animated film, released in 2013, have followed.
“With an international team of visual artists, we will spend the next months working on the 3D design of our Miffy,” said Frank Padberg, business development manager of Mercis. The live-action film is expected to start production in early 2020.
“As recent box office successes show, family entertainment is becoming a new market trend” in China, said Qun Gao, CEO of WD Pictures. “We strongly believe that a fantastic character like Miffy will conquer the hearts of millions of spectators — not only children, but also parents, teenagers and young couples. The size and curiosity of the Chinese public will make this Dutch property a massive success.”
WD Pictures was founded by Gao and other executives from China Vision, the company that was acquired to form Alibaba Pictures. WD Pictures was involved in the production and co-financing of blockbusters including “Skiptrace” with Jackie Chan and “Saving Mr. Wu.”
Orisa is headed by Cristiano Bortone, an Italian director and producer, who last year delivered “Caffe,” the first film to be made under an Italian-Chinese co-production treaty.