Upon its release, the Paddington movie was met with very favorable reviews, not least because Studiocanal had managed to achieve the seemingly impossible task of bringing a much-loved British classic into the modern-day era - while still maintaining all the sweetness and charm that made the British public fall in love with the bear from Peru (when he first appeared in children's books, in 1958).
Paddington became Studiocanal's highest opening film ever, topping box offices in the U.K., France, and Australia. Worldwide, the film took a respectable $290 million, on a budget of 38.5 million Euros (Studiocanal is a unit of the French media company, Vivendi). Given the warm reception and strong reviews the film enjoyed, a Paddington sequel was quickly ordered, but it seems Studiocanal are now even more confident in the Paddington brand than ever.
THR is now reporting that the studio not only has plans for a third Paddington film - before the second one has even started shooting - but they've also acquired all worldwide rights to the Paddington brand, with the exception of literary publishing rights, with a view to expanding the franchise further.
Studiocanal have purchased Paddington and Company, as well as The Copyrights Group, and Harvey Unna and Stephen Durbridge Ltd., which now grants Studiocanal access to all the Paddington brand rights, as well as merchandising rights, and all media rights. Michael Bond, the original creator and author of Paddington, retains publication rights and will also continue to work closely with Studiocanal, a relationship which was established during the making of the first movie.
This is a good deal for Studiocanal, which is carving out a name for itself with European franchises, such as the Nick Park created Shaun the Sheep movie, and the German film, Heidi, both of which enjoyed success in Europe. Paddington is a firmly established British icon; held dear by many generations, many of whom were skeptical of the film adaptation ever being made. However, the movie was a very pleasant surprise, hitting all the right notes and now, moving forward, Studiocanal has the option for a much broader marketing campaign in terms of merchandise; not to mention the potential for TV spin-offs, or even live-entertainment in places such as family theme parks, for example.
THR also reports that Vivendi, Studiocanal's parent company, recently received the backing it needs to buy French mobile gaming company, Gameloft, meaning that potentially, a Paddington video game or app of some sort could also become a reality; a very lucrative move given the bear's popularity with young children whose parents can be talked into downloading anything for five minutes peace.
Paddington is a brand that never goes away; not in the U.K, anyhow, or even in Australia where he is also incredibly popular. Though the buzz surrounding the first movie may have died down right now, it will be easily picked up again once Paddington 2 begins shooting, which is expected to happen in October ready for a late 2017 release. The first Paddington movie was released at the end of November, 2014, in the U.K., and proved to be a very popular choice for family movie trips over the holidays, so it seems logical that the second movie should aim for the same sort of release date.
No details are yet known about the second film, except that Paul King will return as writer and director, with David Heyman also returning to produce. There is no word on whether Ben Whishaw will return as the voice of Paddington, but it seems reasonable to hope he would, along with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as Mr. and Mrs. Brown and (hopefully) Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird, the housekeeper. Certainly, with the wealth of Paddington stories created by Bond, plus the creativity of King and Heyman, Paddington's story could run and run.
Paddington 2 has no official release date yet, but is expected to arrive in late 2017.