Paddington’s cuppa with the Queen could be worth £200million in publicity: How the skit that charmed the world sparked ‘massive’ interest in classic children’s character
- Disney executives said the short skit made Paddington Bear an ‘iconic character’
- The Paddington books are now being ‘repackaged’ for mass global distribution
- And several streaming services are in a bidding war for small screen rights
It was a skit that charmed the world. But the Queen‘s touching Jubilee film with Paddington could be worth as much as £200 million in free publicity to those behind the cuddly little bear from Peru.
Hollywood insiders say that the two-and-a-half-minute clip, which opened the Platinum Party at the Palace and whose existence was kept secret even from senior Royals – has sparked ‘massive’ interest in the classic children’s character.
A senior executive at Walt Disney Studios said: ‘Everyone has been buzzing about Paddington since that sketch.
‘As soon as it aired the phone lines were burning up with executives wanting to know how to sign Paddington.
‘Of course people in Los Angeles know who he is, but that was a sketch that was seen around the world. You can’t buy that sort of publicity.
‘Paddington was beloved before but now he’s iconic. The two films did really well but this has taken Paddington to a new level. That skit was probably the most memorable moment of the Jubilee.’
An undated handout photograph released by Buckingham Palace on June 4, 2022, shows Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace
A senior executive at Walt Disney Studios said: ‘Everyone has been buzzing about Paddington since that sketch. ‘As soon as it aired the phone lines were burning up with executives wanting to know how to sign Paddington’
Queen Elizabeth II having tea with Paddington Bear for Platinum Jubilee 4th June 2022
The executive, who has worked on the multi-billion- dollar Marvel comic book films, added: ‘There was something sweet and innocent about that sketch. It hit a nerve.
‘People fell in love with Paddington and the Queen all over again. And, of course, here in Hollywood that goodwill and love translates into potential cold hard cash.
‘That skit was worth at least £200 million in free publicity, perhaps more.’
The rights to Paddington are owned by the heirs of his creator, author Michael Bond, and ‘uber’ producer David Heyman whose company is behind the two Paddington movies released in 2014 and 2017.
French conglomerate StudioCanal also owns an unknown cut of the Paddington film franchise profits and intellectual rights. A third Paddington film – with the lovable bear again being voiced by British actor Ben Whishaw – was already in the works before last weekend’s coup, but now streaming services including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are bidding for small-screen rights.
The Paddington books are also being ‘repackaged’ for mass global distribution in time for Christmas.
The source said: ‘Meetings are being held. Everyone knows that sketch with the Queen will live on for ever in audience’s minds. So there are big bucks on the table for a TV series. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when’.’
The executive said that the secrecy around the Jubilee sketch only adds to its allure.
CGI Paddington serves tea to the Queen
The first two Paddington movies have earned more than £400 million at the box office
‘People know CGI effects were involved but no one cares. It’s such a warm and affectionate film. Americans love the Queen. The world loves the Queen. And who doesn’t love a fuzzy bear? It’s all anyone is talking about at the moment.’
The first two Paddington movies have earned more than £400 million at the box office.
The 96-year-old Monarch’s sketch revealed that she keeps Paddington’s favourite marmalade sandwiches in her handbag as a tasty ‘back-up’.
The Palace has refused to divulge any details about the filming, which took place over half a day at Windsor Castle – to maintain the ‘magic’.
A drawing of the Queen hand-in-hand with Paddington by Eleanor Tomlinson from East Yorkshire has since gone viral.