‘MONKEY KINGDOM’- Sri Lanka in Disney’s Spotlight in the US

“Disney predicts that ‘Monkey Kingdom’ will be a hit with families everywhere and has released a 74-page educators’ guide with school projects, games and quizzes for children. The guide mentions Sri Lanka 39 times…..now conversion must happen so that we can attract a minimum sixty thousand guests into Sri Lanka”

                                      – Sri Lanka Tourism enters screen-based marketing 


Monkey Kingdom Movie Label

Apart from the aggressive marketing that Sri Lanka tourism has engaged in the focused markets of China and Germany the country is set to receive a massive boost from in its seventh key market USA with a top billed Disney movie ‘Monkey Kingdom’, a feature-length wildlife documentary billed to debut in US cinemas on 17 April and rolled down to 12,000 cinemas across the country. Filmed almost entirely around Polonnaruwa, the film documents the life of a troop of wild toque-macaque monkeys (rilaw), including breathtaking action sequences set in the precincts of the sacred city.

The film is directed by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, who were responsible for other Disney blockbusters such as ‘Earth’, which grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Their last movie 2012 movie ‘Chimpanzee’, filmed in West Africa, grossed almost $35 million, a record for a wildlife documentary, which had the potential for Sri Lanka to be a top of the mind brand among families that have kids said the minister for Sports and Tourism Navin Dissanayke.


Hon Navin Dissanayake , Minister of Tourism addressing the gathering

Disney has billed the cast of ‘Monkey Kingdom’ as Maya, Kip, Raja and Kumar, all of whom are wild macaques. The deftly-crafted plot centers on Maya and her attempts to give her cute baby son Kip the best start in life. There is gripping tension as Maya’s territory is overrun by a neighboring troop, and she and her family have to find refuge elsewhere. Portrayed as a wise matriarch, Maya organizes her troop so as to reclaim their lost territory, leading to the happy ending that is Disney’s hallmark.


Monkey Kingdom Movie Launch in USA

The script is narrated by famed Hollywood actress Tina Fey, perhaps best known for her role in the comedy ‘Date Night’. In addition to an alluring musical score by the British composer Harry Gregson-Williams (whose scores for ‘Shrek’ and ‘Wolverine’ were widely acclaimed), ‘Monkey Kingdom’s’ has adopted the chart-topping hit song ‘Team’ by the New Zealand-born pop singer Lorde.

Disney predicts that ‘Monkey Kingdom’ will be a hit with families everywhere and has released a 74-page educators’ guide with school projects, games and quizzes for children. The guide mentions Sri Lanka, a country to which only the most adventurous Americans venture, no less than 39 times. According to Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayake, who also oversees the subject of wildlife, his ministry plans to extract the maximum benefit for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry from this propaganda windfall.  “The movie portrays Sri Lanka as a genuinely exotic destination and shows not just the monkeys but also their association with the historic city of Polonnaruwa and its people”, he said. “No one pays much attention to these monkeys in Sri Lanka, and most people think of them as pests. But this film shows how fascinating these animals are and I hope it will inspire people to pay more attention to their conservation.”


Hon. Navin Dissanayake , Minister of Tourism and Chairman SLTPB Mr. Rohantha Athukorala launching the Monkey Kingdom Website

Disney has paired with Conservation International, a global wildlife NGO, to make sure that a part of the proceeds goes towards the conservation of primates, including those in Sri Lanka. “We need to do everything we can”, said Minister Dissanayake, “To make sure our tourism authorities get the maximum benefit from this fantastic opportunity to introduce Sri Lanka as a nature tourism destination to the world.”


Digital Media Strategy for Promoting Sri Lanka in US explained

The chairman Sri Lanka tourism promotions bureau Rohantha Athukorala voiced that ” this year Sri Lanka tourism has initiated new ideas and strong ground based initiatives from attending global travel fairs to taking part in road shows and now into scene based marketing of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. We will use a combination of digital executions and trade and visiting journalists programs to tie up the association between the movie and the target traveler he said. Now the challenge is for a typical US visitor to be triggered to travel on a long haul visit and come to Sri Lanka said Athukorala.


Chairman of SLTPB – Mr. Rohantha Athukorala addressing the gathering

Also present was the President of SLITO Mahen Kariyawasam, ASET President Sam Teegel,  the Director PR of SLTPB Dushan Wickramasuriya and President of AMCHAM Asanka Ratnayake.


Monkey Kingdom screen shot

[ Via Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau ]


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