Make room, Pooh: Walt Disney Co. has found another cuddly bear to build its business in China.
The giant panda bear, long a beloved icon of China, will star in a new film tentatively called “Touch of the Panda,” which Disney announced on Monday.
The film marks Disney’s second film in China (the first was last year’s “Secret of the Magic Gourd”), and is part of a wider effort by the media company to make more locally relevant content. Even if the box office take isn’t especially large (”Magic Gourd” grossed only $2.7 million), the new film will boost Disney’s experience in creating content for China and help to build its back catalog of films there. And though relatively small, China’s market for movies is growing– In 2007, domestic box office receipts totaled $455 million, up 26%