Kinepolis to Host ‘Molang’ Event Screenings Across Europe

Renowned French animation studio Millimages has adapted its hugely popular “Molang” series of episodes and shorts into a 58-minute theatrical feature, which leading European distributor Kinepolis will screen in 40+ cinemas across France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg starting on September 1.

“Molang at the Movies” is an hour-long recut of individual “Molang” shorts aimed at preschoolers and their families. The series features an adorable animated character with a big heart and a big sense of responsibility for its surroundings. Created by Korean illustrator Hye Ji Yoon as a simple doodle in 2010, the Molang character has inspired an animated empire of six TV series broadcast in more than 190 countries, 30 billion views on Giphy, more than 8 million social media followers, a viral YouTube channel and 18 international licensing agreements.

While “Molang’s” TV and internet credentials are unquestionable, transitioning to a theatrical product poses practical challenges that would be multiplied with a wider release. Kinepolis recently hosted successful event releases for animated series “Peppa Pig” and “The Smurfs,” and the “Molang” series offered an opportunity to do something special.

“Event Cinema has experienced significant growth in recent years, offering flexibility in terms of release and marketing,” Kinepolis Head of International Event Cinema Steven Clerima told Variety. “Content owners and rights holders enjoy collaborating with us because we are passionate about their work and prioritize them in our events. Each release is an inspiring and innovative collaboration: we understand our audience, and they understand their show.”

Leading up to the film’s debut, Kinepolis and Millimages will engage in a broad promotional campaign, including avant-premieres in Lille, Bruxelles, Madrid and Utrecht, with exclusive merchandise for each movie-goer and teaser campaigns in cinemas over the summer. And, of course, the film will be promoted across “Molang’s” social media profiles.

According to Millimages Head of Communication, Brand Image and Marketing Mathilde Bayle, the “Molang” franchise is primed for success in a new medium. Since an original feature will take time to produce, Kinepolis’ limited event release created a unique opportunity to use the assets Millimages has already produced and test the waters of theatrical distribution for the property.

“‘Molang’ has already conquered the small screen with social media and the medium screen with TV, so it seemed time to take a swing at the big screen,” she explained. “We are in the development stage for a ‘Molang’ feature film, but great movies take time to produce, so in the meantime, we were eager to try another way to bring our audience to cinemas.

“Kinépolis is the perfect partner for this collaboration; they have significant experience creating these cinema events for family audiences, as they recently did with ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘The Smurfs,’” she went on. “With avant-premieres all over Europe, supported by our marketing efforts, we believe attendance will follow.

For Clerima, “Molang” offered the ideal follow-up to its special ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Smurfs’ event releases: “‘Molang’ is an outstanding show, renowned in the world of animation, and it has everything to captivate our audience across Europe: delightful and emotive characters, excellent music and storytelling, and a unique look and feel.”

“From a practical perspective, we sought content that could be easily localized across different countries, and ‘Molang’s’ dialogue-free, universal appeal fits perfectly,” he added.

The team at Millimages also sees that dialogue-free characteristic as a creative advantage. According to Bayle, “One of ‘Molang’s’ most notable characteristics is that it is non-dialogue. Nevertheless, the audience can find recurring themes and messages throughout the six seasons of the series. When putting together this exclusive 58-minute compilation, we crafted a storyline through those themes, making it into brand-new content while using existing material.”

A prominent theme in the series is “Molang’s” respect for its environment and the others who share it. “The movie shows Molang taking care of his surroundings in all sorts of ways and unfalteringly showing kindness, whether it’s towards animals, plants, aliens, friends, or neighbors,” Bayle said. “It delivers a message of empathy that we insisted on conveying, as well as an ecological one: ‘The Molang Way’ means protecting all living things, step by step, doing your part and leading by example.”

For Kinepolis, “Molang” won’t be the last animated property to get special theatrical treatment, and the art form plays an integral part in its exhibition plans.

“Animation fits seamlessly with the cinema experience, as the big screen is the ideal platform to showcase its vibrant and dynamic visuals,” Clerima explained. “There is a substantial and ever-growing fanbase for animated content, which now spans various sub-genres catering to different age groups, including preschoolers, kids, teens, and adults. We offer each of these audiences not just a screening but a collective, emotion-driven experience that goes beyond the film itself.”

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