Blue Zoo Scores Funding from CU Animation


U.K.-based animation studio Blue Zoo has secured a deal with China UK Animation Company (CU Animation) that will unlock a total of £72 million ($91 million) worth of funding to invest across new and existing IP and projects.

The initial investment will be comprised of £30 million ($38 million). The investment will facilitate the launch of Lanzu, a joint venture between Blue Zoo and CU Animation, and will also accelerate the delivery of current and future Blue Zoo productions. Lanzu will initially provide non-exclusive funding for the development and production of at least six new projects over the next five years, with the first project scheduled to go into production later this year. Among the projects will be an animated feature film.

The joint venture will be a key part of Blue Zoo’s ongoing growth strategy, accelerating the speed at which projects go into production once greenlit, and supporting access to the Asian and international market for commercial, branded and creative animation. Additionally, CU Animation’s investment into Lanzu will release extra co-production funding for further seasons of Blue Zoo’s existing slate of IP.

Gina Fegan, the director of culture at CU Animation and Zhong Ze Culture Investment Holdings, said, “Blue Zoo stands out in terms of creativity, company ethos and commercial acumen; we are delighted to partner with them to enable and accelerate IP development and content production, supporting both Lanzu and Blue Zoo’s international growth.”

Oli Hyatt, co-founder of Blue Zoo, commented, “Our partnership with CU Animation Investment Holdings Ltd. comes at a time of incredibly exciting growth for Blue Zoo. Lanzu will enable us to jointly hold and develop our IP whilst generating growth in the Eastern and global markets. In partnering with Blue Zoo, CU Animation has invested in the talented staff we nurture, our growing business and our dreams for the future.”

Kate O’Connor, the executive chair of Animation UK, added, “This deal is great news for Blue Zoo and the U.K. animation sector. It confirms that U.K. animation is a global magnet for investment, creativity, skills and talent, known for our storytelling, our iconic characters and successful character development, as well as our range of specialisms and supported by specific animation tax breaks.”

Mark Garnier, International Trade Minister at the Department for International Trade, remarked, “This is great news for the U.K. animation industry. With centers of excellence across the U.K., including in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, London and Manchester, this new deal further reinforces our position as a global leader in animation production. The Department for International Trade will continue to provide support and advice to businesses like Blue Zoo. We want to attract inward investment to help them and others achieve their growth ambitions and reach new markets.”