Award-winning UK-based animation studio Blue-Zoo announced at Annecy a funding deal with China UK Animation Company (a subsidiary of Zhong Ze Culture Investment Group) that will see the investment of £72 million across new and existing IP and projects. The funding injection will facilitate the launch of a new joint venture, Lanzu. China was this year’s country of honor for the Annecy festival and MIFA.
“Our partnership with CU Animation Investment Holdings Ltd. comes at a time of incredibly exciting growth for Blue-Zoo,” said studio co-founder Oli Hyatt. “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.”
Lanzu will initially provide non-exclusive funding for development and production of at least six new projects — including an animated feature — over the next five years. The first production will kick off later this year. The JV will accelerate Blue-Zoo’s production speed as part of its ongoing growth strategy, and support access to the Asian and international market for commercial. CU Animation’s investment in Lanzu will also open up extra co-production funding for Blue-Zoo’s existing IP slate.
“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,” commented Gina Fegan, Director of Culture, CU Animation and Zhong Ze Culture Investment Holdings.
Kate O’Connor, Executive Chair for 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.”