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Cannes: China’s Hishow Makes Animation Push With ‘Tall Tales’ Acquisition

Variety logo Variety 5/20/2017 Patrick Frater
© Provided by Variety

China’s Hishow Entertainment has acquired mainland Chinese rights to European animated feature “Tall Tales,” from PGS and ON Animation. It will be the sole distributor in China and has exclusive merchandising rights in the country.

The film is based on famous French children’s book “Droles de Petites Betes” by Antoon Krings. Since 1994, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.

PGS and ON (formerly known as Onyx Films) previously produced the 2015 French animation “The Little Prince.” “Tall Tales” is directed by Krings and Arnaud Bouron.

Hishow, based in Beijing, positions itself as an international film investor and co-producer, not simply a local distributor. The deal was announced on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival.

“This is an example of our strategic expansion into animation,” a company spokesman told Variety. “We will not be content with simply being a distributor. It is our intention to be the operator or brand manager. In each case we will be acquiring all rights and controlling merchandise and games activities.”

In Berlin, Hishow paid some $10 million for Chinese rights and investment positions in two Nu Image/Millennium Films: “Hunter Killer” and “Escobar.” Earlier this year it released “Ballerina” in China.

Previously Hishow was involved with “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and 2015’s Franco-Chinese drama “Night Peacock” (“Le Paon de Nuit”,) directed by Dai Sijie and produced by Hishow’s Wang Haiyi.

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