Fantawild, the Chinese entertainment group behind the widely popular “Boonie Bears” animated franchise, is for the first time planning to target slightly older viewers with a new IP, “Realm of Terracotta.” Intended for teenagers, the adventure story is expected to hit theaters this summer.
Fantawild has produced six “Boonie Bears” films in just seven years, which have collectively brought in more than $415 million at the Chinese box office. The property is also a popular TV series, on air since 2012, and hauls in about $390 million of merchandising revenue each year.
The new title, “Realm of Terracotta,” tells the tale of a young girl named Jade and a terracotta warrior named Magnus who must team up to fight the creatures that keep attacking their Qin dynasty underground city, and who eventually fall in love. The story was developed with Mike de Seve, a story consultant on “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar,” and Billy Frolick, who was part of the team that wrote the latter film.
“Fantawild always wishes to spread Chinese culture to the world. The terracotta element is a well-known symbol of China that we feel is inspiring but also great material for animation and the international market, and is not yet well-exploited,” Fantawild Group executive president Daisy Shang told Variety. The firm is already thinking about how to incorporate the new IP into its theme parks. The title has been submitted to Annecy.
Though the company has been churning out a “Boonie Bears” film annually for release during the Chinese New Year period, it typically spends 18 months to two years on each. “We actually have two project teams running at the same time to ensure we have enough time for each film,” Shang said.
They’ve tried to keep the old IP fresh by adding new elements like a lovable white bear introduced in the second film, “A Mystical Winter,” and developing spinoffs, such as an IP called “Boonie Cubs,” which follows the characters at a younger age.
All of the company’s “Boonie Bears” films and TV are dubbed into English by an in-house team, and many are also available in Spanish, French and Portuguese, among other languages. “We’re seeking a seamless integration with the global market,” Shang said. The films have released theatrically in more than 20 countries, including Canada, Turkey, Australia and South Korea.
Shang is also president of Fantawild Animation and Fantawild International. She has led both the domestic and international marketing teams since 2008, when the group began its animation business, and still works closely with distribution partners on every film.