EXCLUSIVE: Build-A-Bear Entertainment is poised to experiment with a new model for theatrical distribution after locking a nationwide release for its starry animated feature, Glisten and the Merry Mission, with Cinemark. Under the deal with the distributor, which is one of the world’s largest and most influential in theatrical, the film will roll out November 3rd.
Enhancing the program is a special promotion, through which those who visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop during the film’s theatrical run will be offered a free child’s ticket. Also on the docket for Build-A-Bear and Cinemark are special events at select theaters which will feature appearances by the pic’s lead character, Glisten the enchanted snow deer, as well as unique bear-building experiences with plush versions of characters from the movie.
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Based on a storyline inspired by Build-A-Bear Workshop’s multi-year best-selling plush, the Merry Mission collection, Glisten and the Merry Mission follows a young elfling, Marzipan, and her mother Cinnameg, the newly minted manager of Santa’s troubled North Pole workshop. Marzipan must believe in the magic of the season to help save Christmas, which leads to the adventure of a lifetime and the search to rediscover Glisten. The pursuit of their merry mission is aided by Santa and a colorful cadre of reindeer and elves, including a big bear on the “naughty list” named Grizz, and the wise elf Sage Evergreen.
Positioned for a future as the latest family-favorite holiday classic, with multi-generational appeal, the G-rated feature is the first animated title for Build-A-Bear in the theatrical space, having mostly worked prior to now on live-action features for both Netflix and Hallmark. The theatrical model Build-A-Bear is trying out takes a bit of inspiration from the tack Taylor Swift has taken with the strategy for her forthcoming concert film for AMC, in that the company’s creatives leveraged the strength of their IP to make a direct, top-markets, national deal with an exhibitor, bypassing the traditional studio and rent-a-studio paradigms.
Featuring in the voice cast are Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels and multi-Grammy Award winner Dionne Warwick, as well as Freddie Prinze Jr., Chevy Chase, Billy Ray Cyrus and Avatar: The Way of Water‘s Trinity Bliss. The film, exec produced by Build-A-Bear’s President and CEO Sharon Price John, also notably features a special holiday song by Warwick, produced by Grammy winner Damon Elliot. John also produced alongside Foundation Media Partners President Patrick Hughes, having previously teamed with the company to exec produce such titles as Unstuffed: A Build-A-Bear Story, Honey Girls, Deliver by Christmas and Christmas CEO. Tickets go on sale October 12th.
Said John in a statement to Deadline, “The mission for our Build-A-Bear Entertainment division is to create engaging and heartwarming content that extends our appeal and resonates with our fans, and this collaboration with Cinemark to theatrically debut Glisten and the Merry Mission, furthers this commitment. Our guests have loved this popular plush collection for years, and we believe they will be thrilled to see their favorite Merry Mission characters come to life on the big screen. We are delighted to partner with Cinemark and to have worked with this incredible team to bring our magical story to life.”
Stated Cinemark’s Chief Marketing and Content Officer, Wanda Gierhart Fearing, on the partnership, “Cinemark is excited to work with Build-A-Bear Entertainment on this special theatrical film release for Glisten and the Merry Mission. There is nothing like seeing a film through a child’s eyes, and we can’t wait for families everywhere to get to partake in this unique multi-faceted event which is sure to spread holiday joy as an iconic furry friend comes to the big screen for the first time.”
Foundation Media Partners’ Hughes added that “Glisten and the Merry Mission is the type of heartfelt, feel-good family film that a theatrical experience was made for, and Cinemark is the best at delivering that to audiences. We can’t wait for families to enjoy this movie together on the big screen to see some of their favorite Merry Mission characters come to life. With this direct theatrical debut, Foundation Media Partners and Build-A-Bear Entertainment continue to expand our entertainment footprint with a value-enhancing approach to developing, producing and releasing content as we evolve our innovative model.”
View the trailer for Glisten and the Merry Mission now.
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