'Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal' heads for China's cinemas

Signing ceremony between Malaysia's Les' Copaque and China's Cultural Investment Holding to distribute Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris in China. Photo: The Star/Low Lay Phon

Popular Malaysian animated franchise Upin & Ipin is set to hit screens in China in the coming months.

Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris (also known in Malay as Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal) has been approved for public screening in cinemas across China.

The original Malay language version of the animated film was released in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore on March 21, and is currently still playing in local cinemas.  

The film by Les' Copaque Production has since collected a total of RM25mil in box office receipts and exceeded 2 million admissions in local cinemas, after screening for three weeks.

That makes it the all-time highest-grossing animated feature film to screen in Malaysian cinemas. 

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) chairman Datuk Hans Isaac witnessed the signing ceremony held at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur today (April 19), where Cultural Investment Holding Co. Ltd. (China) was appointed to be the strategic partner of Les’ Copaque Production to distribute Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris in China under the One Belt One Road initiative.

Signing ceremony between Malaysia's Les' Copaque and China's Cultural Investment Holding to distribute Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris in China. Photo: The Star/Low Lay Phon

“We started our endeavour to get our films distributed in China in 2016. A total of RMB10mil (RM6.2mil) has been allocated by our partner for promotional activities in China, and a Malaysian singer who is a K-pop artiste has been tipped to sing the theme song for the film which is slated to for release in China in June or July,” said Burhanuddin Md Radzi founder and managing director of Les’ Copaque Production, the creator of the popular Upin & Ipin and Geng series.

Cultural Investment Holding General Manager For Film Distribution Xu Xun-bing said: “China is keen to distribute Upin & Ipin as the characters are seen as positive icons for children. The story is not only entertaining, but also laced with positive lessons and moral values that can be emulated by the children of China.”

In his speech, Gobind said: “As China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner and leading investor in the country, and with the 45th anniversary of Malaysia-China relations as a backdrop, this initiative has yielded economic benefits including via the creative industry, in films. The mutual understanding by Les’ Copaque and Cultural Investment Holding reflects the commitment by both country’s filmmakers to strengthen cooperation and deepen cultural exchanges.”

“Finas has also set a new direction this year, to encourage filmmakers to take their products to foreign markets. We will assist them to make films in two languages, whether from Malay into Chinese or English or any other language depending on whichever market they wish to penetrate,” said Hans, the newly-minted chairman of Finas.

Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal continues to screen into its fourth week in Malaysia cinemas. The 100-minute film follows the adventures of a pair of five-year-old twin brothers who get transported to the fantasy Kingdom of Inderaloka after they stumble upon the mystical keris.

The RM20mil budget Malaysian production took five years to complete.

It will be released in Vietnam on April 26, followed by Indonesia on May 9, and subsequently in 26 provinces in China.

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