UK animation studio gets £72m funding
Blue Zoo, the UK-based animation studio, has signed a deal with China UK Animation Company (CU Animation) that will release £72m of funding for new and existing IP and projects.
The investment agreement will see the launch of a joint venture called Lanzu, with an initial fund of £30m being made available with immediate effect.
The aim is to speed up the rate at which Blue Zoo projects go into production once greenlit, and support access to the Asian and international markets.
The deal will also unlock extra co-production funding for projects on Blue Zoo’s existing IP slate, bringing the total investment overall to £72m.
The non-exclusive funding from Lanzu will support 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.
Blue Zoo was founded in 2000 by Tom Box, Oli Hyatt, Adam Shaw and Nic Sim. The award-winning studio is well-known for producing children’s TV series including Tree Fu Tom and Digby Dragon, shorts and commercials.
CU Animation is a subsidiary of Zhong Ze Culture Investment Group.
Oli Hyatt, co-founder, Blue Zoo, said of the news: “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, added: “This deal is great news for Blue Zoo and the UK animation sector. It confirms that 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.”
Image: Blue Zoo.
Also on The Knowledge
At a BBC event in London last night (21 February), director of BBC Drama Lindsay Salt set out her vision as she confirmed the commission of 12 new dramas across BBC channels.
CineRegio, a network of regional European film funds, has launched a Manifesto for Sustainable Filming, with Film London, Screen Scotland and Ffilm Cymru Wales among the many signatories.
Screen Cornwall has launched the first-ever funding scheme dedicated to the development of feature film in the Cornish/Kernewek language.
As first confirmed on Production Intelligence, a shiny new drama called I, Jack Wright is in the pipeline at Federation Stories, with filming due to begin imminently.
The BFI’s annual full-year production stats for 2023 show a total spend across film and high-end television (HETV) of £4.23bn.
Screen-industry organisation Climate Spring has launched its new development fund for global unscripted TV and factual entertainment.