Studiocanal has agreed to distribute Maya the Bee Movie, the 3D animated feature adapted from the ABC TV series, in Australian and New Zealand cinemas.
The Australian-German co-production from Buzz Studios will open on Saturday November 1 on more than 100 screens in Oz and on 25 prints in New Zealand, playing two sessions a day for two weekends.
Studiocanal CEO Robert Slaviero tells IF the cinema season could be extended depending on ticket sales. The original plan was for Buzz Studios-affiliated Flying Bark Productions to handle theatrical distribution but Studiocanal’s involvement ensures a much wider release.
As an alternate content title the traditional 120-day holdback does not apply so it will be released on DVD and VOD before the end of the year by Beyond Entertainment.
Produced by Barbara Stephen, written by Fin Edquist and directed by Alexs Stadermann, Maya the Bee Movie introduces Coco Jack Gillies as Maya and features the vocal talents of Jacki Weaver, Richard Roxburgh, Noah Taylor, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Justine Clarke, Miriam Margolyes and the Umbilical Brothers Shane Dundas and David Collins.
Maya yearns to escape her heavily regimented existence and to explore the world outside her hive. Her attempts to fit in and “be a bee” bring her into conflict with the Queen’s royal advisor (Weaver). With her best friend Willi (Smit-McPhee) tagging along, Maya buzzes out of the hive and into the meadow on an adventure of self-discovery.
Flying Bark parent Studio 100 Media has sold the film to more than 100 markets including Germany (Universum), France (TF1 Film), Korea (Sejong), Spain and Italy (Planeta) and Russia (Premium).
Studiocanal already had a relationship with Flying Bark, having signed on as the Australian/NZ distributor of The Blinky Bill Movie, which has just started production with Deane Taylor directing.
The CGI animated movie is an unofficial co-production with Telegael Ireland and an Indian production house. Written by Edquist and produced by Stephen, the plot follows the iconic Australian koala (Ryan Kwanten) as he sets out to find his missing father with his friends Nutsy and Jacko. More high-profile names for the voice cast will be announced soon.