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of a media event on Tues­day, af­ter which they left for a pro­mo­tional tour of Shang­hai, Hangzhou in Zhe­jiang province, and Shen­zhen and Guangzhou in Guang­dong province.

Dur­ing the screen­ing of a trailer in Bei­jing ear­lier this week, Bur­ton knelt down on the floor to mimic a sheep­dog.

“Some­times we prac­ticed the shots and re­hearsed the shots. So when we an­i­mated, we could get the comic tim­ing right,” says Bur­ton.

In an at­tempt to make the movie “fresh” as com­pared with the TV se­ries, the fea­ture isn’t set on a farm but in­stead in a big city, just like “Bei­jing with lots of ve­hi­cles and peo­ple”, says Bur­ton.

When asked about their Chi­nese box-of­fice ex­pec­ta­tions from Shaun the Sheep Movie, which has grossed $70 mil­lion glob­ally to date, Starzak gives the fig­ure “be­tween zero and 1 bil­lion yuan”, dis­play­ing some Bri­tish hu­mor.

Among the few im­ported an­i­mated ti­tles this sum­mer, Shaun ap­pears po­si­tioned for com­pe­ti­tion in China, where 18 home­grown an­i­ma­tion movies are up for re­lease through Au­gust across 2,000 cine­mas on the main­land.

“Write a good story. I’ve talked quite a lot with some Chi­nese an­i­ma­tors,” Bur­ton says. “The cru­cial el­e­ment is the sto­ry­telling.” Con­tact the writer at xu­fan@chi­

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