Adventures In Zambezia 3D has become the highest grossing South African film in more than 30 years, the animation’s sales agent and executive producer Cinema Management Group (CMG) announced on Friday [Mar 1].

Triggerfish Animation’s international hit has grossed more than $18m through independent distributors, with a further 18 territories to go including Latin America and the Middle East.

CMG licensed French rights recently to Metropolitan, while Big Pictures will distribute in Spain and ADS Services will release in Hungary. CMG also licensed Triggerfish’s upcoming animation Khumba to Metropolitan.

In Poland, Adventures In Zambezia 3D is on its way to $3m through Kinoswiat and stands at $2.7m after three weekends. It debuted in third place on 160 prints on Feb 1 and climbed to number two. Thus far the film has grossed more than Wreck-It-Ralph, Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, Sammy’s Adventure 2 and Niko 2.

eOne reported a $1.8m running total in the Benelux and said Zambezia was tracking to overtake Hotel Transylvania and Rise Of The Guardians.

Bazelevs and All Media jointly distribute in Russia where the film opened in fourth place and climbed to number two en route to overtaking ParaNorman and grossing $5.6m in five weeks.

South Korea has returned more than $3m through Bloomage and the family release has amassed more than $700,000 in Portugal, where it has stayed in the top ten for eight weeks and drawn more than 100,000 admissions through new distributor Outsider Films.

Zambezi has grossed more than $1m through Nu Metro in its native South Africa and it ranked as the top independent animation of 2012 in Israel, where it launched first and has earned more than $750,000.

Sony will distribute in Australia on 150 prints on Mar 21 and will handle the US DVD and digital release on Mar 26.

Wayne Thornley directed the story of a plucky bird assisted by a voice cast includes Samuel L Jackson, Richard E Grant, Abigail Breslin Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy. Stuart Forrest, James Middleton, Anthony Silverston and Mike Buckland of Triggerfish Animation produced and Greg and Claire Becker, Mace Neufeld, CMG chief Edward Noeltner, Peter Graham and Steven Hayes of 120 db films served as executive producers.

“I am extremely pleased with the distributors who signed up with this movie as far back as 2008 and have been able to reap the benefits of their early commitment,” said Noeltner, adding that Zambeziawas the highest grossing South African film since The Gods Must Be Crazy in 1980.

“CMG has really worked hard on this movie and thanks to the investment we got [from the Cleveland Family in the form of an acquisitions fund] we were able to bring in such a terrific voice cast.”

Noeltner noted the success of Zambezia has helped with pre-sales on Khumba, which has already attracted a voice cast that includes Liam Neeson and AnnaSophia Robb. Khumba will screen in the Cannes market