Condorito, long the subject of a highly popular comic strip across wide swaths of Latin America, is a polo-shirt and flip-flop wearing anthropomorphic condor who’s beloved by millions for his edgy humor and signature “¡Plop!” sound effect. The entertaining and sassy bird, with a PG-13 brain behind his G-rated looks (think Howard the Duck meets Donald Duck) finally made his official US debut this past weekend.
A limited U.S. release this month of Condorito’s first feature animated film, Condorito: La Película (Condorito: The Movie) comes hot on the heels of it’s release in numerous Latin American countries this past October, where it grossed almost $8 million dollars before being brought stateside by Lionsgate/Pantelion Films January 12.
Despite the rating of the comic strip’s humor, the film is decidedly family friendly. Co-director Alex Orelle (who directed the film alongside Eduardo Schuldt) recently spoke to Cartoon Brew about the challenges of animating Condorito for a kids’ audience: "bringing a comic with more mature themes… into the family film world, where audience expectations are more wholesome.”
From the looks of the Disney/Pixar-ish trailer, this was a big success:
Though the Condorito comic originated in Chile as the invention of cartoonist Pepo (René Ríos Boettiger), the film, in Spanish with English subtitles in its U.S. release, was made in Peru by Peruvian Arronax Animation Studios, and is their third feature-length film.
Choosing Condorito as a subject to draw from was no accident. According to producer Hugo Rose, also interviewed by Cartoon Brew, the company undertook a large survey across numerous South American countries to determine which homegrown characters had the most universal appeal, and Condorito topped the list (along with Mexican TV show El Chavo del Ocho and Argentine comic strip Mafalda).
But only the swank condor had this universality in his favor: “The character is so well embedded that most of our respondents, regardless of where they were from,” Rose told CB, “thought that Condorito’s country of origin matched their own.” Sounds like it’s about time we saw this very big bird on screen.
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