After its release across half of Latin America last October, the Peruvian production Condorito: The Movie opened in limited American release on 12th January. The film, produced by Hugo Rose and Abraham Umbrand, has been distributed by Lionsgate and Pantelion Films in the country.
With a production cost of over $8 million, the film is a high-budget movie by Latin American standards. The movie is also the latest example of how Latin American studious are becoming increasingly confident at producing and selling quality animation on an international level.
Condorito is the first movie adaptation of one of the most enduring comic strips from South America with long-lasting success that reaches contemporary readers.
The character, created in 1949 by the Chilean cartoonist Pepo was in response to what he felt was an under-representation of Chilean national identity in Disney’s Saludos Amigos.
The 1942 Disney movie portrayed Chile as a relatively minor character, embodied by the clumsy mail plane Pedro who carries his mailbags over the Andes.
However, according to scholar Juan Poblete in the article “Condorito, Chilean Popular Culture and the Work of Mediation,” Disney’s influence and especially the Donald Duck comic strips were also key to the character’s design and the structure of the stories.
After a continent-wide survey to uncover Latin America’s most cherished characters, Condorito’s franchise potential became obvious for Aronnax Animation Studios, a company founded in Lima by Peruvian film producers Hugo Rose and Abraham Vurnbrand in 2009.
It is the company’s third feature-length cg animation production after The Illusionauts (2012) and The Nutcracker Sweet (2015).