Norwegian directors Espen Fyksen and Lise I Osvoll's fully-animated Elias and the Royal Yacht, which has taken 230,000 admissions locally, will be launched in Sweden on Sept 28 - in a local version, with a star cast, and backed by strong marketing and merchandising campaigns. Denmark and Finland will follow.

'Major Hollywood studios used to have a monopoly on such releases,' said Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen, of Filmkameratene, who last week received $400,000 (Euros 300,000) from the Norwegian Film Fund for a second delivery of the original television series.

While Nordic films rarely travel well in their neighbouring countries, Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri (which handles international sales) decided that Elias - a feature spin-off from the CGI-animated series which was nominated for an International Emmy - had the potential to support individually dubbed versions for each territory.

Swedish voices include Joel Nystrom, Ewa Froling, Pernilla August, Sven Wollter, Michael Nyqvist, Rikard Wolff, Jan Astrom, Johan Wahlstrom and Ole Ornered. Songs are performed by Sarah Dawn Finer, Tommy Nilsson, Bjorn Skifs, Sharon Dyall, Eye N'I and Dogge Doggelito.

Fyksen co-wrote both the 26x10-minute TV episodes and the feature with Oyvind Rune Stalen. Elias is the story of a little rescue boat which started its career among singing boathouses in a charming coastal village. In the $2.9m (Euros 2.2m) feature Elias is on a secret mission to find the Royal Yacht which has vanished up north.

Co-produced by Norwegian commercial broadcaster TV2 (and screened by Swedish TV4, Danish TV2, Finnish YLE), the television series has been released locally on DVD to exceed 200,000 units. The feature was selected for the recent Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France.