Producer: Making 'Yugo & Lala 2' is an adventure

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 8, 2014
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The sequel to the 2012 Chinese animated film "Yugo & Lala" debuts in China on Friday. Its producer said making this film is like an adventure.

Director Wang Yunfei and his team at ITS CARTOON Animation created another story about the adventures of a girl named Yugo and a little liger named Lala, set in an alternate-reality animal-ruled world without humans.

"Yugo & Lala 2" is beautifully crafted, bearing influences from Miyazaki Hayao and Pixar Animation Studios. The characters are cute and the storyline is heartwarming. The film sends out messages of love, unity, understanding and environmental protection, which won applause from parents and children at the Beijing premiere.

ITS CARTOON Animation has produced many popular cartoons and started the "Yugo & Lala" project as early as 2005, "Yugo & Lala 2" producer Yuan Mei said. However, the first project, formerly known as "Peculiar Kin," was discarded due to many problems and was later revived in 2010, with production coming to a close in early 2012.

"Although there were good reviews, friends told me, this film just has no basis -- no TV series, no online games and no merchandise," Yuan said. "They said it will not become successful, and will only gross no more than 3 million yuan (US$487,100). I know what they mean, they just asked me to abandon it and cut promotion to avoid further loss."

However, Yuan and her marketing team later decided to continue with the project. They collaborated with a local cartoon TV channel in Jiangsu Province, trying to make a regional box-office miracle by using their limited resources and a small promotional budget. They did. The first installment eventually grossed 24 million yuan (US$3.89 million), not bad for a Chinese animation. And it grossed 14 million in Jiangsu Province alone, more than half of the total gross. The industry veterans called it "unbelievable."

"It's like an adventure for all of us, for all the animators, and we just had some sense and experience to get into the film market," Yuan said. "If the first episode really flopped and only grossed 3 million, we may not have had the courage to go on and reflect on what we have done. But now, we have all the awe and respect for the market in our hearts while having the confidence to find those who loved our films and find the space where we can survive. "

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