Dreamworks and Disney should be.
Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, a movie based on the cartoon series of the same name and featuring the voice of Fan Bingbing, GoGoClub and Ah Niu, surprisingly beat both Dreamworks’ Madagascar II and Disney’s Bolt at box offices last week. It became the largest grossing Chinese feature animation in box offices by earning 30 million Yuan in only one weekend.
Pleasant Goat’s success was a surprise to many, in fact, so surprising that at the last minute, many theaters original reserved to show Red Cliff switched to show Pleasant Goat instead. Much of the movie’s popularity was due to the cartoon series, a three-year-running show with over 500 episodes. According to one article on Sina, the name Pleasant Goat is even more well known than Mickey Mouse to today’s young Chinese.
Chinese animation has always been a sector of film that has been slow to develope. The Lotus Lantern in 1999 was one of the first to receive commercial success, but its box office was still far from many Western movies. More recently, Qing’s Moon, a 3-D animation series, was received with much applause, though it was much criticized for a lackluster plot. Pleasant Goat’s animation quality is mediocre at best, and its main focus is children under 9. Nevertheless, it presents hope for the future of Chinese animations. Next week, “Animal Carnival,” the first full-lengthed Chinese musical animated feature, will also be in Chinese theaters. You can watch a preview of it and its theme song by Jane Zhang here.