The film is a co-production of Finnish Handle Productions and French Pictak Cie. Written by Leslie Stewart, Annina Enckell, Hanna Hemilä, Xavier Picard and Beata Harju, the English version of the film stars Russell Tovey as Moomin, Nathaniel Parker as Moominpappa and Tracy Ann Oberman as Moominmamma. The film is based on the Moomin Tove Jansson's original comic strip: Moomin on the Riviera and it is the first animated feature based on the comic strips.
In the film, the Moomins along with Snorkmaiden and Little My sail for the Riviera, where their unity is threatened. Snorkmaiden is dazzled by the attentions of the playboy Clark Tresco and Moominpappa befriends an aristocrat called Marquis Mongaga, while Moomin and Moominmamma decide to move to the beach in order to escape all the glamorous extravagance. Moomins on the Riviera was released theatrically on 10 October 2014 in Finland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson's birth. In the United Kingdom, the film made its premiere on 11 October 2014 at BFI London Film Festival and it had a wider theatrical release on 22 May 2015.
The Moomins, along with Little My and Snorkmaiden go on a sea journey that, after storms and desert island dangers, leads the family to the Riviera, the place that takes their unity to the test.Russell Tovey as Moomin
Nathaniel Parker as Moominpappa
Tracy Ann Oberman as Moominmamma
Stephanie Winiecki as Snorkmaiden
Ruth Gibson as Little My
Dominic Frisby as Snufkin
Philippe Smolikowski as Marquis Mongaga
Dave Browne as Clark Tresco
Shelley Blond as Audrey Glamour
Additional roles from the English version of the film are played by Dominic Frisby, who also co-directed the English dialogue, Ian Conningham, Alison O’Donnell, Bernard Alane, Bruno Magnes, Andy Turvey, Kris Gummerus, Glyn Welden Banks, Lee Willis, Sanna-June Hyde, Christopher Sloan and Leslie Hyde. Maria Sid and Beata Harju, who provide voices for Moominmamma and the Mymble in the Finnish and Swedish version, also voice minor roles in the English version.
According to Sophia Jansson of the Moomin Characters, the company had been careful with giving the rights to new film adaptions about the Moomins for years. When the participation rights with the Telescreen expired, Sophia Jansson became interested in the idea of animated film based on the Moomin comic strip story. Producer Hanna Hemilä, who is Sophia's close friend, told Sophia about French animation director Xavier Picard, who was interested to adapt comic strips to the big screen. They contacted Picard and the film started production in France in 2010. The film is animated traditionally, hand drawn animation with a reduced color scale for the backgrounds in order to maintain continuity with the black-and-white comic strips. Pictak Cie worked on developing the visuals of the film. Chinese Sandman Animation Studio did 120,000 drawings for animation and Handle Productions produced the film. The film marks the feature film directorial debut of Xavier Picard. Picard was not aware of the Moomin characters before he discovered them 20 years ago in Japan, but he has been particularly fascinated by comic strips and has stated to want translate the art of Tove Jansson into animation. The Finnish voice cast of the film was confirmed in August 2014 featuring Maria Sid as Moominmamma, while the English voice cast was confirmed in a September 2014 press announcement. The film's score was composed by many Finnish and French composers, including Jean de Aguiar, Panu Aaltio, Timo Lassy, Milla Viljamaa and Anna-Karin Korhonen. The film stays faithful to Tove Jansson's original story in the original comic strip, with the addition of a few characters and story lines: Little My and Snufkin, have been added to the film, in addition to some other characters from the Moomin comic strip. While the production crew felt that the Riviera is fun and dramatic setting, they have also add a side story at the beginning of the film, that takes place in Moominvalley, and where Moomins got their idea for the sea voyage. The reason for this was to introduce the dwelling place of the Moomins for the international audience. Sophia Jansson herself approved the change.
Moomins on the Riviera was released on 10 October 2014 in Finland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson’s birth, and on 31 October 2014 in Sweden. In France, the film was released on 4 February 2015. Indie Sales acquired the release rights for the Toronto International Film Festival and in addition, the film was sold to other countries, including Switzerland and Japan. For the UK theatrical release, the film made its premiere on 11 October 2014 at the BFI London Film Festival. The film had a wider theatrical release in UK for 22 May 2015 that was distributed by Vertigo Films. In February 2015, the film was confirmed to be featured on New York International Children's Film Festival.
A Region 2 home video edition of Moomins on the Riviera was released on February 11, 2015 on DVD and Blu-Ray in Finland. The film was released on DVD on September 28, 2015, in United Kingdom.
From BFI London Film Festival screening, Matt Micucci of CineCola praised the film's screenplay and soundtrack, while calling "a smart and surprisingly quick witted film as well as the perfect tribute to a celebrated and much loved comic strip that has the potential of winning it an even greater and more international audience". Sara Steensig of gbtimes was enthusiastic towards the film despite pointing out of Moominpappa's painful hangover and Moomintroll's bitter jealousy, but she notes after that "These are phenomena that adults will recognize but most children will not, and they are shown in a way that will not make young kids wonder about things they are not ready for."
As of October 26, 2014, Moomins on the Riviera grossed $1,381,862 in Finland. The film first earned $337,391 (28,500 viewers) on its first weekend, surpassing The Grump, and became the highest-grossing film during its first two weekends in Finland.
In an October 2014 blog article at Screendaily, Sophia Jansson stated that the film's “artistic team has made an effort to be true to the original drawings and the original text”, and it is hinted that Jansson is now in discussions with various parties for a new, similarly animated television series.