Paramount confirmed to an online source that it has cancelled the release of the French animated feature The Little Prince. The film, directed by Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda), had been scheduled to open on March 18.
The Little Prince, based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella, won the César Award last month for France’s best animated feature of 2015. With nearly $90 million in global box office gross, it is France’s most successful animated feature export of all time.
Mark Osborne confirmed the news via Facebook:
Many thanks to everyone for the outpouring of love and support in these strange times. As it turns out, the much anticipated U.S. release of this special and unique film will have to be anticipated just a little bit more. All I can say is The Little Prince will in fact be released by another distributor later this year. Until then, head to Canada! The film opens there in wide release this weekend!
A publicist for Osborne declined to comment to Cartoon Brew about why Paramount abandoned the film so close to its release date. The lack of a promotional campaign for the film, however, suggests that Paramount Animation had made the decision to not release the film for quite some time.
The conglomerate’s attempt to launch an animation division has been hampered by a lack of clear objectives or vision for its label; the only film released so far under the Paramount Animation label since launching in 2011 is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. We recently called their animation strategy “all but incomprehensible,” and this latest development raises further doubts about Paramount’s ability to be a serious contender in the feature animation business.