Saturday, June 08, 2013

South Africa's Feature

If DreamWorks can do prehistoric cave families, and Pixar make pictures about fish, then Africans can create animated movies about zebras.

... At France’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival: “Khumba,” the second 3D animated feature from South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation Studios, Africa’s flagship toon studio. The pic, a coming-of-age comedy adventure about a half-striped zebra’s search for a magical watering hole, is voiced by Jake T. Austin, Laurence Fishburne, Annasophia Robb, Liam Neeson and Steve Buscemi.

Beverly Hills-based Cinema Management Group, which reps the pic in international markets, has closed pre-sales to Mexico (Gussi), Spain (Antonio Llorens’ Lauren Films), Malaysia (Suraya Films), Thailand (Mono Films), Taiwan (Creative Century) and Vietnam (IPA).

CMG’s international sales roll-out for “Khumba” covers 40 distributor deals, said exec producer and CMG prexy Edward Noeltner. ... Part of “Khumba’s” appeal ... is “the warmth of its color and lighting scheme which makes ‘Khumba’ stand out. What Triggerfish has achieved ... is that they are culturally distinctive from Pixar, Disney or DreamWorks movies but are technically and visually on the same level.” ...

Whether or not the movie is on the "same level" as Pixar/DWA/Blue Sky remains to be seen. But distribution deals are piling up around the globe, so people with money think it offers theatre-owners something tangible.

Will Khumba do Pixar business? DreamWorks Animation business? Probably not, but it's a niche product that could make some okay money. It wouldn't be the first, and animated features are a movie genre that is red hot.


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