Disney makes cartoon film out of Chinese legend

By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-19 08:43

The Magic Gourd (Baohulu De Mimi), Walt Disney China's first studio co-production here, will hit the big screen on the Chinese mainland this summer holiday.

"China is the priority of the entire company," Stanley Cheung, executive vice-president and managing director of The Walt Disney China, said.

"In addition to bringing more Disney family entertainment content to China, we attach great importance on finding locally relevant and appealing content."

The human and computer-generated picture is the result of joint efforts of the Walt Disney China, Hong Kong's Centro Digital Pictures and China Film Group Corporation, with the first two cooperatively making the film with the third in charge of national distribution.

The film's story is the contemporary adaptation of a classic novel written in 1958 by one of the most celebrated authors of Chinese children's literature, the late Zhang Tianyi.

The fantasy focuses on Wang Bao, a precocious boy who chances upon a magic gourd that accomplishes everything he needs or wants to do.

Disney chose a Chinese children's literature classic for its first local launch because of the story's widespread popularity among Chinese.

"We respect and appreciate the deep-rooted rich Chinese culture," Cheung said.

"Our production team may be very international, but the content will continue to focus on China's local stories."

Weng Li, spokesman of China Film Group Corporation, said they would spare no effort promoting the movie.

Centro Digital Pictures' special effects, which have featured in the hit films Kill Bill and Kung Fu Hustle (Gong Fu), will showcase the latest visual effects technology in the Disney film.

Chinese animation industry insiders said they hope that the combination of local stories, international production teams and the world's renowned animated pictures producer would help lift China's flagging cartoon film industry out of gloom and compete internationally.

The film trailer can be viewed at www.disney.com.cn.

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