London, Uk —Mattel, Inc., a global learning, development and play company that inspires the next generation of kids to shape a brighter tomorrow, has announced its family CGI feature-length special Thomas & Friends The Great Race, will have a nation-wide theatrical run across China, covering 23 provinces and over 4,000 cinemas. Additionally, the 81-minute film will see the debut of its first Chinese character, Yong Bao, on the big screen further cementing the affinity and engagement of the preschool franchise in the region.
The exciting debut of Chinese character Yong Bao in The Great Race has been specially dubbed in Mandarin and distributed by Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. The theatrical release on the 22nd September will continue through to China’s Golden Week in October.
Peter Broegger, MD of Mattel APAC said: “This is the second time that Thomas & Friends has secured a theatrical release in China and one of the very few non-native young children’s movies to be released which is a huge honour and further demonstrates the strength of the brand and affinity with families and children in this important market.”
Christopher Keenan, SVP Content, added: “The world of Thomas & Friends continues to expand with the introduction of our very first Chinese character: A bright, young engine named Yong Bao. We can’t wait for fans in China to meet Yong Bao, along with nearly a dozen other new characters from around the world! Thomas & Friends: The Great Race is a warm and wonderful film; its timely theme of ‘teamwork’ and ‘friendship’ will resonate for all.”
The eleventh feature length film, The Great Race has already enjoyed a successful theatrical release in several other countries including UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and for the first time ever, Italy, where over 70 cinemas took part in their country’s screenings. The film sees the iconic blue engine take on an exciting adventure at the Great Railway Show where he meets a host of new characters, including the new exotic train Ashima of India, alongside eleven other international trains including: Yong Bao of China, Axel of Belgium, Raul of Brazil, Ivan of Russia, Etienne of France, Gina of Italy, Rajiv of India and Shane of Australia among many others.
Thomas & Friends TV series is available in China through all major digital platforms including iQiYi, YouKu, QQ, LeTV, TMall Box, BesTV among many others. The brand franchise is also available in a variety of formats and products including live events, such as Thomas Town and Thomas the Musical Live Show; consumer products; publishing; and digital radio.