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The computer animated film hit Paddington hit theaters earlier this year and exploded at the box office all over the globe. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a sequel is in the works, with hopes of turning the classic children’s book series into a major feature film franchise.
Deadline reports that Paddington writer / director Paul King will return to the helm for Paddington 2. King has been heavily courted by producer David Heyman, as well as the film’s financier / distributor StudioCanal, ever since Paddington earned a staggering $260 million at the box office. King will reportedly work with co-writer Simon Farnaby on the story to the second film.
For StudioCanal, the desire to turn the already abundantly proven Paddington into a franchise is a smart one that could help leverage the company as even more of a Hollywood power player. The studio bet it all on black by fully financing the CG heavy Paddington to the tune of $55 million. Had the movie flopped, it would have spelled serious trouble for the studio, but the gamble turned out to be a wise one as Paddington reached profitability on domestic screens, bringing in $76 million in the United States. Keep in mind, that was after the film proved to be a tremendous success at the international market last fall.
As for Heyman, the success of Paddington added to the producer’s cache for family friendly fare, after already having developed the sensational Harry Potter film series. Though David Heyman is an old school film-maker, believing in quality over quantity. This is proven by the fact that he will reportedly give Paul King as much time as he needs to ensure the story and direction of the Paddington sequel measures up to that of the first film.
Presuming that Paddington 2 is as successful as expected, the establishment of a Paddington franchise stands to be a career maker for Paul King. Considering his only other feature work was his own independent comedy, Bunny and the Bull, King must be delighted and nervous at the same time, especially when figuring in the assured merchandising and licensing potentials. The Paddington series is based on the children’s book series Paddington Bear, written and created by Michael Bond. The series, which began in 1958, spanned more than 20 books.
Much like contemporary children’s book character Curious George, Paddington often innocently finds himself in troublesome jams that he then needs to think his way out of. Armed with nothing more than his trusty hat and coat, as well as a suitcase full of tricks a la Felix the Cat, the marmalade loving Paddington exhibits politeness and courtesy - even when finding himself in perplexing positions. In other words, with his backstory already laid out in the first film, and plenty of material to cover at least a handful of films, we may be seeing Paddington films in our theaters for quite some time.
There is no release date schedules as of yet for Paddington 2.