Can Sunny Bunnies be the next Baby Shark? The popular alien rabbits could soon give the not-so-predatory sea creature a run for its money in the sing-along category with a new spinoff of the growing franchise.
Poland’s Animation Café and AVOD network WildBrain Spark are releasing Sunny Bunnies Sing-Along this summer. The show (pictured) features the bunnies belting out reimagined versions of popular children’s songs, complete with on-screen lyrics to prompt participation from kids and their caregivers. The series will air on the Sunny Bunnies YouTube channel, which has almost three million subscribers.
The CGI-animated spinoff (26 x 2.5 minutes) is a departure from the original Sunny Bunnies series, which is non-verbal. It launched on YouTube in 2015 with 26 x 3.5-minute episodes, and was picked up in 2016 by Disney Channel, Disney Junior and DisneyNOW for US audiences. The shorts are currently airing in more than 160 countries on platforms such as Sky Kids, Kidoodle.TV and Amazon Prime Video.
Sunny Bunnies Sing-Along seeks to build on that foundation, airing first in English, then in other languages based on demand. Music is by Animation Café and award-winning American music and animation producer Michael Mennies (The Fixies). Animation Café director Andrei Ledzianeu is overseeing the project as creative director and producer.
The move to a verbal format is a double-edged sword, says Maria Ufland, co-founder of Sunny Bunnies distributor Media I.M. Incorporated.
On one hand, the dialogue-free style of the original series has been a huge factor in its success, creating overseas sales opportunities and increasing its global appeal. On the other, buyers are clamoring for more verbal and educational content. The spinoff meets this demand while capitalizing on the evergreen popularity of musical kids content, says Ufland.
It’s a busy category on YouTube, which is not easy to break into with a new IP, she notes. But considering the headstart the series will have with its established audience, Ufland isn’t worried. “Kids can’t seem to get enough of musicals,” she says. “And in general, there’s a big demand right now for bright and cheerful programs that put a smile on kids’ faces.”
Media I.M. is banking on the spinoff to expand the buyer base for the series, which already has several extensions—such as Sunny Bunnies Get Busy!, a live-action arts and crafts series—but Sunny Bunnies Sing-Along is the first with music.
Another spinoff, Sunny Bunnies ABC, is also in the works. It has been developing for some time and will focus on teaching children the alphabet, numbers and shapes through music. Like Sing-Along, Ufland sees ABC as a series with global appeal.
“Music works universally and unites people; it works across cultural and age groups,” she says.
This story originally appeared in Kidscreen’s August/September magazine.