UK animation studio Blue Zoo has announced a £30m funding deal with China UK Animation Company, a subsidiary of Zhong Ze Culture Investment Group.
The multimillion pound investment will go into the launch of Lanzu, a new joint venture between Blue Zoo and China UK Animation Company (CU Animation), and will also help deliver current and future Blue Zoo productions.
Lanzu will initially provide non-exclusive funding for the development and production of at least six new projects including an animated feature film, over the next five years, with the first project scheduled to go into production later this year. The joint venture will accelerate the speed at which projects go into production once greenlit, and support access to the Asian and international market for “commercial, branded and creative animation.”
CU Animation‘s investment into Lanzu will also release extra co-production funding for further series of Blue Zoo’s existing slate of IP and support the development of new and existing IP. In total, it is expected to unlock a total of £72 million of funding to invest across new and existing IP and projects.
Gina Fegan, Director of Culture, CU Animation and Zhong Ze Culture Investment Holdings Ltd, said; “Blue-Zoo stands out in terms of creativity, company ethos and commercial acumen, we are delighted to partner with them to enable and accelerate IP development and content production, supporting both Lanzu and Blue Zoo’s international growth.”
Oli Hyatt, co-founder, Blue Zoo, said; “Our partnership with CU Animation Investment Holdings Ltd comes at a time of incredibly exciting growth for Blue Zoo. Lanzu will enable us to jointly hold and develop our IP whilst generating growth in the Eastern and global markets In partnering with Blue-Zoo, CU Animation has invested in the talented staff we nurture, our growing business and our dreams for the future.”
Kate O’Connor, Executive Chair, Animation UK said: “This deal is great news for Blue Zoo, and the UK animation sector. It confirms that the UK Animation is a global magnet for investment, creativity, skills and talent; known for our storytelling, our iconic characters and successful character development as well as our range of specialisms and supported by specific animation tax breaks.“
Mark Garnier, International Trade Minister, The Department for International Trade, said: “This is great news for the UK animation industry. With centres of excellence across the UK including in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, London and Manchester this new deal further reinforces our position as a global leader in animation production. TheDepartment for International Trade will continue to provide support and advice to businesses like Blue Zoo. We want to attract inward investment to help them and others to achieve their growth ambitions and reach new markets.”
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