Care Bear stare! Gather around, Brave Heart Lion, Share Bear, Birthday Bear, and the rest of the gang, and let’s learn something new about The Care Bears Movie—the original (and still the best) film starring one of the 1980s' most beloved animated properties.
1. The film starred lots of big names in voice-only parts.
Mickey Rooney quite notably played Mr. Cherrywood, our narrator, but the film also featured the singing talents of veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton (as the singing voice of Brave Heart Lion), and beloved pop star Carole King (of “You’ve Got a Friend” fame) sang the title song.
2. The Care Bear Cousins made their first on-screen appearance.
Although the Care Bears proper had already starred in a pair of television series, The Care Bears Movie marked the first on-screen appearance of the so-called Care Bear Cousins, including Brave Heart Lion and Playful Heart Monkey.
3. Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins played before the film’s theatrical showings.
The 25-minute animated short found Strawberry Shortcake battling an icky-smelling cloud that infiltrates Strawberryland, aided by new friends the Berrykins (and also Banana Twirl, who never appeared in another Strawberry Shortcake outing again).
4. The film was a major hit for Canada.
The Care Bears Movie made more than $34 million at the box office, making it Canada’s highest-grossing hit for the entire year of 1985.
5. It was also a box office smash in the United States.
With a $23 million box office take just in the U.S., The Care Bears Movie was almost the number one G-rated feature film of 1985, though it ultimately lost the top spot to a reissue of 101 Dalmatians. Still, it ended up number two for the year, beating both Follow That Bird and Rainbow Brite and The Star Stealer.
6. The film inspired two tie-in books.
Both Meet The Care Bear Cousins and Keep On Caring were released by Parker Brothers after the film hit the big screen. The popular books were reissued mere months later, with both serving as charming backup material for the film.
7. The Care Bears Movie premiered as part of a Special Olympics event.
Although the movie didn’t open in North America until March 29, it actually premiered on March 24 at a benefit for the Special Olympics.
8. In Germany, the film is known as Der Glücksbärchi Film.
The tongue-twisting title loosely translates to “Happiness Bears Film.” In Germany, the Care Bears are known as “barchis.”
9. The feature was one of the first films to be made from a toy line.
The Care Bears were snuggly toys before they ever made it to the big screen, and The Care Bears Movie marked one of the first times a studio attempted to reverse engineer the process, making a toy and then giving its fans a movie to enjoy.
10. The movie doesn’t include every single Care Bear or Care Bear Cousin.
Missing from the film? Both True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse.
11. The film was only the second feature ever made by Nelvana.
The Canadian entertainment company had previously made specials and television series, but The Care Bears Movie was only the second feature-length film they ever made. Later, the company also crafted both of the follow-up features, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation and The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland.
12. The Care Bears Movie was director Arna Selznick’s feature debut.
Although she had previously directed the television special, Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name, The Care Bears Movie was Selznick’s first feature film. She later worked on both sequels and The Care Bears Family series.
13. It’s an award winner.
The Care Bears Movie won Canada’s Golden Reel Award, given to whichever Canadian film earns the most at the box office for any given year. Although the award is now given out by the Canadian Screen Awards, in 1985, it was still part of the Genies, which function as the country’s own version of the Oscars.
14. The movie was in the making for a number of years.
Despite the popularity of the Care Bear toys, the film didn’t get off the ground very quickly. Although it was planned as far back as 1981, its creators had trouble finding a movie studio to actually make the film.
15. The Care Bears went after another enemy after the film’s release.
In 1985, The Care Bears Help Chase Colds, A Practical Cough and Care Guide for the Entire Family was released as a promotional tie-in for the film—albeit one that provided very valuable advice for families and fans everywhere.
16. There were rumors of a sequel mere days after the first film opened.
Although we’re used to hearing about possible sequels as soon as new features open, that was still a rarity back in the '80s, especially when it came to kids’ films. Within just weeks of blowing up the box office, the media was already speculating that we were due for more Care Bear hugs.
17. The movie hit home video in just months.
Eager to capitalize on its popularity, The Care Bears Movie hit Beta just three months after it arrived in theaters.
18. The Care Bears Movie was written by the head writer of Inspector Gadget.
Peter Sauder penned the screenplay for the movie, one of his many gigs as a Nelvana employee. In addition to serving as the head writer of Inspector Gadget, he also wrote the Strawberry Shortcake short that played in front of the movie, along with the earlier TV special The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine and both sequels.
19. A number of the Care Bears were voiced by the same people.
Eva Almos provided the voice for Friend Bear, Champ Bear, and Swift Heart Rabbit, while Melleny Brown voiced both Birthday Bear and Cheer Bear, and Patricia Black played Funshine Bear and Share Bear.
20. The Care Bears went to the Cannes Film Festival.
Even though The Care Bears Movie opened months before the prestigious festival kicked off, the Care Bears—including people dressed up as the Bears—hit Cannes to promote the film.