Entertainment One has cheered the rising global popularity of its famous children’s TV character Peppa Pig as the cartoon hit the big screens and continued to take China by storm.
The group said the film release of Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience raked in £3.6 million in box office takings in the UK, as well as another 2.2 million Australian dollars (£1.3 million) in Australia and New Zealand.
It added that revenues have also been better-than-expected across China, where Peppa Pig is rapidly gaining new fans, with demand also soaring for branded toys, clothing and home furnishings.
This has been driven by nationwide broadcast on China’s CCTV network and through more than 34 billion views on Chinese social media platforms since the launch of the brand in September 2015, according to the group.
Entertainment One, which also owns film business eOne and a television arm, said all its divisions were performing on track.
But the Canada-based, UK-listed media group revealed box office revenues at its film division nearly halved so far in the year to date due to a lack of new releases – at 82 million US dollars (£48 million) against 151 million US dollars (£89 million) a year ago.
The firm said this is expected to turn around in the second half, with the recent release of Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde expected to make 100 million US dollars (£75 million) worldwide, followed by other new titles including Steven Spielberg-directed film The Post, Paddington 2 and A Bad Moms Christmas.
The group added that its content media library has increased in value by 200,000 US dollars (£149,365) to 1.7 billion US dollars (£1.3 billion) as at March 31 after an independent valuation.
Entertainment One recently took a £47 million hit from restructuring its film arm, shifting the business towards digital content and producing fewer, bigger movies.
This saw annual profits dive 22% to £37.2 million.
Entertainment One has been the subject of takeover approaches in recent years, with ITV abandoning a £1 billion pursuit of the firm last year after its initial offer was snubbed.