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‘Thomas & Friends’ Making Tracks to China for Theatrical Debut

Mattel-owned brand to release theatrically in China for the first time with ‘Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure’ to screen in 5,000 theatres nationwide.

LONDON -- MATTEL, Inc., a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products, and HIT Entertainment, a leading preschool entertainment company and a subsidiary of Mattel, has announced its latest CGI feature length Thomas & Friends special Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure will debut in 5,000 cinemas across China on the 20th February 2016. 

This is the first time a Mattel-owned brand has seen a theatrical release in China, and will be the first non-native children’s movie of the Chinese New Year to be released in cinemas. The exciting debut of Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure, which has been specially dubbed in Mandarin, comes after two years of planning and will screen in cities countrywide including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Chengdu and Shenyang. A blue carpet premiere is planned for the 18th February in Shanghai.

Peter Broegger, MD of Mattel APAC commented, “This is a historic and unprecedented moment in the development of the Thomas & Friends franchise in China. The reach and scale of this theatrical release means we can engage with families and children in a whole new way by bringing Thomas to the big screen across the country.”

“One of the great joys of producing Thomas & Friends is the opportunity to introduce unique and engaging characters,” added Christopher Keenan, VP Global Content & Executive Producer, HIT Entertainment. “We look forward to our Chinese audience’s reaction to Thomas’ new foes and friends in Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure!

The feature length film, which will be distributed by Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd in China, was produced to commemorate the recent 70th anniversary of Thomas the Tank Engine which was created by the British Rev. Awdry in 1945 and today is enjoyed by families in more than 300 territories and in over 40 languages. The film Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure sees Thomas on a spectacular new adventure that takes him to a new part of Sodor on a curious treasure quest that introduces a host of new characters and songs, alongside classic characters such as The Fat Controller, Percy, James and Gordon.

Thomas & Friends TV series is available in China through all major digital platforms including iQiYi, YouKu, QQ, SoHu, LeTV, TMall Box, BesTV among many others. The brand is available in a variety of formats and products including live events, consumer products, publishing and digital radio. 

Source: MATTEL, Inc.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.