Could Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, become the Walt Disney of the Arab world? Things seems to be heading in that direction as various organizations he controls increase their investment in animation production and the country loosens its ban on movie theaters. Just don’t give any of Salman’s animated films a bad review since he’s been known to have his critics chopped up into bits and pieces.
Manga Productions, a subsidiary of Salman’s Misk Foundation that uses animation to “promote Saudi ideas and messages internationally,” announced today its first feature-length animated film, The Journey. It will be a co-production with Japan’s Toei Animation, expanding on a 2017 pact between the two companies that has already resulted in a short film, The Woodcutter’s Treasure, and a 13-episode tv series, currently in production.
The Journey will be directed by Kobun Shizuno (Detective Conan films, Knights of Sidonia). It is described as “an epic tale…with a goal to present the ancient civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula and Middle East, in an attractive, high-end, and commercial form of animation that is universally enjoyed by children and families of all generations.”