China’s film industry officials clearly have a thing for birds. In May, Rovio Animation’s The Angry Birds Movie, got a coveted “day-and-date” debut, meaning the film dropped in North America and China on the same day. Now, it’s Warner Bros. Animation’s turn with their new cartoon feature Storks (逗鸟外传) receiving a day-and-date bow for September 23.

Warner Animation Group built 2014's blockbuster The Lego Movie, and now they’re delivering Storks, an animated children's fantasy in which two storks (voiced by Kelsey Grammer and Andy Samberg) reveal the truth about their job delivering babies to new parents. 

It’s been a good year for cartoon animals on Chinese cinema screens. From Kungfu Panda, Zootopia and Finding Dory to The Secret Life of Pets, mainland theaters have been using an assortment of lovable critters to draw in the crowds.

It’s not hard to guess why. Not only are they inoffensive and uncontroversial, they’re also easy to dub into Mandarin in a way that looks and sounds totally natural. It’s that killer combo that has helped Hollywood studios rake it in this year.

Kung Fu Panda 3 was animated in English and Mandarin, and made USD 153.4 million here. Zootopia hauled in USD 235.6 million, eventually becoming the highest-grossing animated Disney film ever in China. 

But being dubbed into Mandarin can sometimes pose a problem for non-Mandarin speakers who want to also enjoy these movies. So, if you’re not putonghua-proficient, make sure when you’re buying your tickets to check if the film is dubbed or has subtitles with these handy phrases:

  • Does this film have English subtitles? 这部电影有英文字幕吗?Zhè bù diànyǐng yǒu yīngwén zìmù ma?
  • Is this film dubbed in English? 这部电影有英文配音吗?Zhè bù diànyǐng yǒu yīngwén pèiyīn ma?


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