French movie firm Studiocanal has acquired all but the publishing rights to the Paddington Bear brand worldwide.
The announcement was made on Monday, June 20th that the film studio had struck the deal to take on the popular children's property, as well as The Copyrights Group, the merchandising group that has licensing rights to Paddington.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the move marks Studiocanal's first acquisition of a major entertainment IP and follows the success of the Paddington movie that grossed $290 million worldwide following its 2014 release.
Author Michael Bond, who created the Paddington character in 1958, will retain publishing rights to the brand and will continue to work closely with Studiocanal. Financial details weren't disclosed.
Studiocanal chairman-CEO Didier Lupfer said the company is also committed to a third Paddington film.
The Paddington deal opens up a wide range of opportunities for Studiocanal, allowing the company to use the Paddington characters for TV series, theme parks and live entertainment, as well as tapping into the lucrative market in Paddington merchandise.
Studiocanal is positioning itself to be a European studio on the U.S. model, with a heavy focus on known brands and franchises. In addition to Paddington, the group has had success with Shaun the Sheep, a feature film based on a preschool TV series created by Nick Park, which grossed $106 million worldwide; and the German-language live action film Heidi, which has earned more than $25 million.