Kinepolis to host screenings of ‘Molang’ across Europe

Renowned French animation studio Millimages has adapted its popular series of episodes and shorts “Molang” into a 58-minute feature film, which leading European distributor Kinepolis will screen in more than 40 cinemas in France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg from 1 September.

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

While “Molang”’s credentials on television and the Internet are unquestionable, the transition to a cinematic product poses practical challenges that would be multiplied by a wider release. Kinepolis recently organised successful event launches for the animated series “Peppa Pig” and “The Smurfs,” and the “Molang” series offered an opportunity to do something special.

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

Prior to the film’s release, Kinepolis and Millimages will be carrying out an extensive promotional campaign, including previews in Lille, Brussels, Madrid and Utrecht, with exclusive merchandising for each viewer and sneak preview campaigns in cinemas throughout the summer. And of course, the film will be promoted on “Molang’s” social media profiles.

According to Mathilde Bayle, Head of Communications, Branding and Marketing at Millimages, the “Molang” franchise is poised to succeed in a new medium. Since producing an original film takes time, the limited release at Kinepolis created a unique opportunity to utilize 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 television, so we felt it was time to make the jump to the big screen,” he explained. “We are in the development stage of a ‘Molang’ feature film, but big movies take time to produce, so in the meantime, we were eager to try another way to bring our audiences to theaters.

“Kinépolis is the perfect partner for this collaboration, as they have a wealth of experience in creating this type of film event for family audiences, as they did recently with ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘The Smurfs’,” he added. “With previews across Europe, supported by our marketing actions, we believe that attendance will continue to grow.”

For Clerima, “Molang” was the ideal follow-up to its special releases of “Peppa Pig” and “The Smurfs”: ““Molang” is an exceptional show, renowned in the world of animation, and has everything it needs to captivate our audiences across Europe: charming and emotive characters, excellent music and narrative, and a unique look and feel.”

“From a practical perspective, we were looking for content that could be easily localized in different countries, and the universal, dialogue-free appeal of ‘Molang’ fits the bill perfectly,” he added.

The Millimages team also sees the absence of dialogue as a creative advantage. According to Bayle, “One of the most notable features of ‘Molang’ is that it has no dialogue. However, audiences can find recurring themes and messages throughout the series’ six seasons. By putting together this exclusive 58-minute compilation, we created a story through those themes, making it completely new content while using existing material.”

A prominent theme of the series is “Molang’s” respect for his environment and for others who share it. “The film shows Molang taking care of his environment in many ways and showing kindness without hesitation, whether toward animals, plants, aliens, friends or neighbors,” Bayle said. “It conveys a message of empathy that we insist on getting across, as well as an ecological message: ‘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 receive special theatrical treatment, with the art form playing an integral role in its exhibition plans.

“Animation is perfectly suited to the cinematic experience, as the big screen is the ideal platform to showcase its vibrant and dynamic visuals,” explained Clerima. “There is a substantial and ever-growing fan base for animated content, which now spans several subgenres catering to different age groups, including preschoolers, children, 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.”