| NICHOLAS WILL NOT LET THE SPIRIT SPOIL IT FOR YOU This article contains plot details that may ruin the plot of the story for you.
Read at your own risk. You have been warned.
The Care Bears Movie was the first movie produced in the franchise in 1985 in Canada.
Mr. and Mrs. Cherrywood are a middle-aged couple who run an orphanage. Mr. Cherrywood tells the orphans a story about the Care Bears and their home in the clouds called Care-A-Lot .
Meanwhile at an amusement park, another Care Bear, Tenderheart , spots a magician's apprentice named Nicholas . While unloading a trunk of goods for his master, the "Great Fettucini", Nicholas finds an old book with a diary-style lock on it.
When he unlocks the book, an evil spirit appears as a woman's face and starts corrupting his mind. With Nicholas' help, the spirit lays waste to the amusement park, and begins a quest to remove all caring from the world.
Back at Care-a-lot, some of the other bears are working on their new invention: the Rainbow Rescue Beam, a portal that can send any Bear to Earth and back in an instant. The two youngest bears, Baby Hugs and Baby Tugs , interfere with the machine and bring forth a group of unexpected visitors—Friend Bear, Secret Bear, Kim, and Jason.
The Bears introduce themselves to the children, and give them a tour of their home. Tenderheart soon returns before a "Cloud Quake", an earthquake like disaster, ruins Care-a-lot due to The Spirit. Tenderheart informs the others of Nicholas' troubles on Earth.
Bringing them to the Rescue Beam, he sends Kim and Jason to the park, along with Friend Bear and Secret Bear. The four of them end up in the Forest of Feelings after the portal malfunctions. From a nearby river in the clouds, the rest of the Care Bears begin searching for the group aboard the Cloud Clipper.
Within the Forest, the children and their friends are introduced to Brave Heart Lion and Playful Heart Monkey , two of the Care Bear Cousins . Later on, the other Bears discover more of the cousins, among them Cozy Heart Penguin , Lotsa Heart Elephant , Swift Heart Rabbit , and Bright Heart Raccoon .
During their stay, the spirit attacks them in several guises—as a spearfish, a tree, and an eagle. After the Care Bears and the Cousins defeat them, the friends venture back to Earth to save Nicholas from the spirit's influence.
At the park, Nicholas obtains the ingredients for his spell against the children and the creatures. After he casts it, the Care Bears and Cousins engage in a long battle against him.
But after Kim and Jason assist him, the apprentice finally realizes his misdeeds; with Secret Bear's help, he closes the spirit's face back into the book and saves himself, the park, and the world.
Nicholas thanks the group and reunites with Fettucini while Tenderheart Bear inducts the Care Bear Cousins into the Care Bear Family, and Kim & Jason find new parents at one of Nicholas' shows.
After Mr. Cherrywood finishes his story and looks over the orphans, his wife reveals his first name, Nicholas, before the two head off to sleep. Tenderheart Bear, who had been listening from outside the window, returns to Care-a-lot in his Cloud Mobile .
The film ends with every member of the Care Bear Family waving good-bye.
- Mickey Rooney as the voice of Mr. Cherrywood
- Jackie Burroughs as the voice of The Spirit
- Georgia Engle as the voice of Love-a-Lot Bear
- Sunny Besen Thrasher as the voice of Jason
- Eva Almos - Friend Bear & Swift Heart Rabbit
- Patrice Black - Share Bear & Funshine Bear
- Melleny Brown - Cheer Bear & Baby Tugs Bear
- Bobby Dermer - Grumpy Bear
- Jayne Eastwood - Birthday Bear & Mrs. Cherrywood
- Anni Evans - Secret Bear & Champ Bear
- Gloria Figura - Bedtime Bear
- Cree Summer Francks - Kim
- Brian George - Mr. Fetuccini
- Janet-Laine Green - Wish Bear
- Luba Goy - Lotsa Heart Elephant & Gentle Heart Lamb
- Terri Hawkes - Baby Hugs Bear
- Dan Hennessey - Brave Heart Lion
- Jim Henshaw - Bright Heart Raccoon
- Hadley Kay - Nicholas
- Marla Lukofsky - Good Luck Bear & Playful Heart Monkey
- Pauline Rennie - Grams Bear & Cozy Heart Penguin
- Billie Mae Richards - Tenderheart Bear
- Brent Titcomb - Additional Voices
The Care Bears were created in 1981 by Those Characters from Cleveland (TCFC) [which is a division of the Cleveland greeting card company American Greetings Corporation (AGC)].
During that same year, the title characters made their debut on greeting cards by Elena Kucharik while American Greetings began to develop a feature-length film using the characters.
Kucharik (along with Linda Denham, Linda Edwards, Muriel Fahrion, Dave Polter, Tom Schneider, Ralph Shaffer and Clark Wiley) created the original characters.
Early in their tenure, the Care Bears appeared as toys from the Kenner company and starred in two syndicated television specials from a Canadian animation studio called Atkinson Film-Arts of Ottawa: "The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings" in 1983 and "The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine" in 1984.
The production of the first feature took place at another Canadian outlet, Toronto's Nelvana studio. This came in a period in the company's history which Nelvana co-founder Michael Hirsh refers to as its "dark years."
At the time, Nelvana had just finished production of its first full-length film, 1983's "Rock & Rule" which was produced using almost all of its resources (for around US$8 million) and failed to find proper distribution. The film put them on the verge of closing down.
Soon after, the Nelvana team began doing work on television shows like "Inspector Gadget" (from DIC Entertainment), "20 Minute Workout" (from Orion Television) and "Mr. Microchip."
During this period, they also made syndicated specials based on American Greetings properties such as "Strawberry Shortcake", "The Get Along Gang" and "Herself the Elf."
According to Harvey Levin (the vice-president of marketing & entertainment communications at TCFC):
"In some instances, their capabilities [on the Strawberry Shortcake specials] surpassed Disney quality."
Various companies vied to produce a Care Bears feature and Nelvana was the first to do so.
Hirsh sought to seize the opportunity after hearing of its development. DIC Entertainment also expressed interest.
Thanks to the "Strawberry Shortcake" specials and their experience on "Rock & Rule," Nelvana acquired the rights to the characters and gained a contract from American Greetings to create the script for the movie
To convince the production partnership of TCFC and Kenner Toys, Hirsh held a competition (inspired by Pepsi-Cola's "Pepsi Challenge" commercials of the time) in which he tested clips from Nelvana and other vying studios and checked the "animation quality, music, sound effects and colour" of each.
He then asked the producers to decide on the best demo, and Nelvana scored highest.
Hirsh later recalled the words of his partners:
"We know you've rigged this against everybody else because you've chosen the clips. But we like the approach."
Movie Producers & Crew
"The Care Bears Movie" was one of the first films to be based directly on an established toy line.
It featured the ten original Care Bears (along with six additions to the lineup) and marked the media debut of the Care Bear Cousins.
Produced for at least US$2 million, the film was financed by American Greetings, the owners of the Care Bears franchise; General Mills, the toys' distributor and television syndicator LBS Communications. The Kenner company also took part in the production.
Brought in under budget, "The Care Bears Movie" became Nelvana's second feature-length production and was made over an eight-month period that lasted until February of 1985.
Michael Hirsh is quoted as saying in Daniel Stoffman's 2002 book "The Nelvana Story":
"Nobody had ever made an animated movie for theatrical release for as little money and in as little time."
In 2009, his partner, Clive A. Smith, told Canadian Business magazine:
"I swear I grimaced at the thought of doing a Care Bears feature. But Michael [Hirsh] went out and actually brought that project in."
Nelvana was responsible for the script, several special effects, including those for the "Care Bear Stare" and hired musicians and voice actors.
With this project, Arna Selznick became the third of only four women ever to direct an animated feature. Prior to this, she worked on several Nelvana productions (including "Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name").
Nelvana's founder Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert and Clive A. Smith participated as the main producers.
The studio's roster included Charles Bonifacio, the director of animation and supervising animator David Brewster (who previously took part in the animation courses at Ontario's Sheridan College).
Dale Schott (who served as a storyboard artist) remarked that "Nelvana had a lot to do with reviving the low-budget feature" with its efforts on "The Care Bears Movie."
Four employees of the film's financiers served as executive producers: Louis Gioia Jr., (the president of Kenner's Marketing Services division); Jack Chojnacki (co-president of TCFC); Carole MacGillvray (who became president of General Mills' M.A.D. (Marketing and Design) division in February of 1984) and Robert Unkel (LBS' senior vice-president of programming).
A fifth producer, American Greetings staffer W. Ray Peterson went uncredited.
Three associate producers worked on the film: Paul Pressler, another employee at Kenner; John Bohach, who later became LBS' executive vice-president and Harvey Levin.
Lenora Hume (the director of photography on "Rock & Rule") was the supervising producer.
Along with "Inspector Gadget," the movie was Nelvana's first foray into animation outsourcing.
Production took place at Nelvana's facilities, Taiwan's Wang Film Productions (Cuckoo's Nest Studio) and the newly established Hanho Heung-Up and Mihahn studios in South Korea.
Delaney and Friends (a Vancouver-based outlet), did uncredited work.
Nelvana faced several problems with their Korean contractors among them the language barrier between the Canadian crew and the overseas staff and the unwieldy processes through which the film reels were shipped to the West.
At one point, Loubert, Smith and fellow staffer David Altman spent three days trying to persuade several unpaid animators to return important layout sketches. In exchange for the layouts, Nelvana gave them US$20,000 in Korean won.
By then, the production was falling behind schedule, and an opening date was already set. Loubert sent half of the work to Taiwan (where Lenora Hume supervised) while the remainder stayed in Korea under Loubert's and Smith's watch.
Back in the Americas, Hirsh tried to promote the unfinished feature before its deadline; unable to get available footage, he instead managed to show potential marketers some Leica reels and a few moments of completed colour animation.
According to him, it was the first time an animated "work in progress" was screened to exhibitors; this ploy has since been used by the Disney company,particularly in the case of the movie "Beauty and the Beast" (at the 1991 New York Film Festival).
According to Hirsch about the experiment:
"People loved the movie anyway. I was told it was considered great salesmanship. It made [them] feel that they were part of the process because they were seeing unfinished work."
In 1984 (before the film's completion), Carole MacGillvray offered "The Care Bears Movie" for consideration to major studios in the United States.
Since they did not see the financial potential in a picture aimed strictly at children, they declined the offer.
MacGillvray told Adweek magazine in April of 1985:
"I made several trips, and I was really disappointed. They kept telling me things like 'Animated movies won't sell' and 'Maybe we'd consider it if you were Disney,' but most just said, 'You're very nice, good-bye.' "
When few takers were left, she took it to the Samuel Goldwyn Company. A newcomer in the independent market, it agreed to release the film.
Comparing the title characters' appeal to Hollywood stars like Barbra Streisand & Robert Redford, founder Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. remarked:
"Having my [two] children, I know these bears are stars, too."
According to the 1985 edition of Guinness Film Facts and Feats, the Samuel Goldwyn Company spent up to US$24 million on the publicity budget for "The Care Bears Movie" the largest at that time.
The film's advertising budget was US$4 million; Variety reported that "the beneficiaries of [its] merchandising tie-ins have earmarked [the remaining] $20,000,000 to promo Care Bear products in step with the film's release."
For the film's promotion, Goldwyn's staff partnered with Kenner Toys and fast food chain Pizza Hut. There were also tie-ins on Trix cereal boxes.
The Goldwyn staff came up with two advertising strategies which tested well with the company—one was aimed at the film's target audience of children as young as age five; another targeted grown-ups, parents and older children.
According to Cliff Hauser (thedistributor's executive director of marketing), he stated:
"We didn't want parents to think the movie was threatening. So the big debate was—although the formula for success in animated film is the triumph of good over evil—how can you do that in single-image ads?"
Jeff Lipsky (vice-president of theatrical at Goldwyn) referred to the first one as "the cheery approach."
The ads therein featured the Care Bears on clouds and carried the tagline "A movie that'll make the whole family care-a-lot."
"That's one that a mother can look at and know she can take the 2-year-old to it and not worry."
The other campaign (which Lipsky called "more Disney-esque") featured an evil tree whose hands reached out to capture the Bears with the tagline: "What happens when the world stops caring?" (which was also seen on the official poster).
Bingham Ray (Goldwyn's vice-president of distribution) was involved in the promotional efforts.
Around opening time, Hirsh predicted that The Care Bears Movie would be its decade's response to "Pinocchio" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (both from Walt Disney Productions).
"These characters say something important to children. Our challenge has been to create a very distinct character for each Care Bear. A lot of effort went into bringing out their individuality."
Some time afterward, Hirsh conceded that parents had to come to the film, out of respect for the dark content within.
According to him:
"Frightening scenes are a necessity for the reality of the hero and villain—just as it works in nursery rhymes. Kids work out their fears this way."
TCFC's Jack Chojnacki offered this vindication in the Wall Street Journal, saying:
"We consider a film one of the many products we license. When we started the whole Care Bears project we knew the importance of bears in the market but that there was a void. There were no specific bears. In the movie marketplace there was a void for good family-fare films."
And, in the words of Carole MacGillvray: "Toy recognition drives this movie."
Movie Release in North America
On March 24, 1985, "The Care Bears Movie" premiered in Washington, D.C. as part of a Special Olympics benefit. Georgia Engel (the voice of Love-a-lot Bear) attended this event.
On March 29, 1985, the movie opened in the United States and Canada as Nelvana's first widely released feature.
Surprisingly, the movie became successful at the North American box office, playing primarily at matinees and early evening showings.
At the time, the North American film industry was bereft of children's and family fare.
With the movie, Hirsh said:
"There's such a large audience for a film that appeals primarily to 6-year-olds."
He later stated:
"What we've done [at Nelvana] is tailor the film to a pre-literate audience, the very young. It's interesting to see the audience. The kids are fixated on the screen. [It's] awesome to them."
Clive A. Smith observed that some children came to showings with their Bears; long lineups held back its audience in several cities.
Among those attending the matinee screenings was John Waters (a filmmaker known for "Pink Flamingos" and "Polyester").
The film made an appearance at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, Texas during its release.
When the movie was shown in theatres, it was immediately followed by Nelvana's television special "Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins" which was about Strawberry Shortcake & a tiny group of creatures called the Berrykins as they work to clear their home of Strawberry land of the "world's favorite perfume" (which is a pungent odor unleashed from a purple cloud).
The feature was directed by Laura Shepherd and produced by Nelvana's founders (along with Lenora Hume).
LBS Communications syndicated it on U.S. television around the time of The Care Bears Movie's theatrical tenure. A video (VHS) release from Family Home Entertainment soon followed.
Box Office Success
The "Care Bears Movie" ranked fourth at the North American box office on its first two weekends, grossing US$3.7 million and US$3.2 million respectively.
During its first four weeks, the film was screened in 1,003 venues.
After three months, it grossed about US$23 million in the United States and placed 40th among 1985's major films. It brought in US$9,435,000 in rentals for the Goldwyn company.
In Canada, the film was released by Astral Films and Criterion Pictures Corporation and made C$1,845,000 by the end of 1985.
It was the year's highest-grossing release in that market, followed by Disney's film "One Magic Christmas" and a Quebec production called "Le Matou."
Several months after The Care Bears Movie, Walt Disney Pictures released its animated feature The Black Cauldron.
Costing US$25 million, it was the most expensive animated film of its time, but grossed nearly as much as Nelvana's production (US$21.3 million).
As a result, the film's performance alarmed animators at the Disney Studios. Don Bluth (a former recruit, dismissed the "public taste" factor that it demonstrated.
Another animator, Ron Clements later reflected on this, stating:
"Everyone was kind of scared about the future of Disney animation. It wasn't a good time. It was really a terrible time."
This sentiment was echoed in Disney's 2010 documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty" on the revival of its animation unit.
While comparing The Black Cauldron with The Care Bears Movie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution singled out the "putrid pastels" of Nelvana's production and commented that they "don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same review."
Months afterward, a re-issue of Disney's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians" surpassed both "The Care Bears Movie" and "The Black Cauldron" with over US$30 million in sales.
Amid the United States and Canadian success of "The Care Bears Movie", Goldwyn took the film to the 38th edition of the Cannes Film Festival where it was highly received.
A group of costumed Care Bears strolled along the Croisette to promote the picture.
Among its overseas distributors was Germany's Filmwelt which was released on March 20, 1986, under the title "Der Glücksbärchi Film."
It sold 538,487 tickets in that territory, placing 47th among new releases and grossed over DM4,013,000 (€2,051,600; US$2,868,000).
The film was released on VHS in October of 1986 by the local division of CBS/Fox Video and aired on national broadcaster ARD during the 1988 Christmas season.
In August of 1985, the movie was released in the United Kingdom by Miracle Films and did well in matinee-only engagements.A video edition from Vestron's local branch came out some months later.
In February of 1986, the film was released by France's Artédis under the franchise name "Les Bisounours." The publishing rights were held by Hachette Livre.
It opened on March 20, 1986, in the Netherlands under the title "De Troetelbeertjes."
On July 21, 1986, the Bermudez de Castro company opened the film in Madrid, Spain under the title "Los osos amorosos," grossing over 23,728,000 Pts (€142,606; US$199,500) from 93,294 admissions.
Among that country's Catalan speakers, it is known as Els Óssos Amorosos.
On December 1, 1988, the film was released in Czechoslovakia by Ústřední půjčovna filmů under the title "Starostliví medvídci."
It was advertised in Italy under the "Orsetti del cuore" and in Poland under the title "Opowieść o Troskliwych Misiach."
On April 24, 1986, the movie was released in Mexico under the title "Los ositos cariñositos."
In Brazil, the film was promoted as "As novas aventuras dos ursinhos carinhosos."
Television airings occurred on Australia's Nine Network in 1987 and Malaysia's TV2 (in August of 1993) and Disney Channel in April of 2002.
"The Care Bears Movie" received mixed reviews.
During its original release, the movie had varying degrees of success with critics.
The New York Times' Richard Grenier wrote that:
"[The film] recalls vintage Walt Disney, both in substance and in the style of hand animation."
Rick Lyman of "Knight Ridder News Services" said in his review:
"Any movie—even an animated one—that has characters with names such as Funshine Bear, Love-a-lot Bear, and Lotsa Heart Elephant is obviously going to rank quite high on the cute meter. And this one sends the needle right off the chart. You've never seen such cuteness."
Adele Freedman also gave it a positive review, commenting:
"[It] has a lot going for it if you can tolerate the Bears."
Edward Jones of Virginia's The Free Lance-Star praised it, but stated that:
"More comedy would have helped broaden [its] appeal to older youngsters."
The Deseret News of Utah gave it three stars out of four (a "Good" grade) with this comment: "Sticky sweet, but a nice message."
Michael Blowen began his review of the film by stating that
"[it] satisfies the primary obligation of a bedtime story—before it's half over the children will be fast asleep."
He added that "this sugar-coated trifle could only satisfy the most ardent Care Bears fan" and that "the characters themselves lack definition."
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said about the movie:
"Who except a callous scrooge would carp about the fact that The Care Bears Movie espouses a psychopop philosophy of 'sharing our feelings' that seems drawn straight from the pages on one of those insufferable self-motivation tomes? No one, that's who."
The Washington Post reviewer Paul Attanasio said:
"The best cartoons recognize the dark side of kids, their penchant for violence, their fearful fantasies. [This movie] just patronizes them. It even has a child chortling, 'Aren't parents great!' Well, they are and they aren't, and kids know that."
The animation in the film received mixed reviews as well. Adele Freedman praised the style and backgrounds, and called the special effects "stunning."
Likewise, John Stanley wrote in his 1988 film guide "Revenge of the Creature Features," stating:
"The style is cartoonish and cute."
While complimenting it as "a harmless film diversion," Stephen Hunter said that "the movie has the lustrous, glossy look of the very best in children's book illustrations."
He also added:
"On the other hand the producers obviously couldn't afford an expensive [multiplane] camera, the staple of the Disney product, and so the scenes have a depressing flatness to them. And the backgrounds, so brilliantly developed in Disney, tend to be blurry and hastily done."
Jim Moorhead of Florida's The Evening Independent said:
"[Nelvana's] animation is not the best. Far from it. Everything's in pastels, fine details are largely missing, mouth movements are minimal and the motions of the figures are scarcely better than some of those awful Saturday morning cartoons on TV."
The staff at Variety magazine stated that the "style ... tends towards a primer reading level."
Halliwell's Film Guide called it "sluggishly animated and narrated."
As with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The New York Times' Janet Maslin found that the quality paled in comparison to Disney features (in this case, 1940's Pinocchio).
The Los Angeles Times' Charles Solomon (in his 1989 book "Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation") and Michael Janusonis of Rhode Island's "Providence Journal" faulted the plot.
The Evening Independent's Moorhead and Jim Davidson of the Pittsburgh Press noticed at least two parallel storylines in the film (one of which involved the magician Nicholas).
The National Coalition on Television Violence counted at least 20 acts of violence throughout the picture.
Critics questioned its purpose as a feature-length advertisement for "Care Bears" merchandise.
Among them were Charles Solomon, Paul Attanasio, The Morning Call of Pennsylvania and Bill Cosford of The Miami Herald.
The Boca Raton News' Skip Sheffield commented:
"I couldn't help being bothered by the blatant commercialism of this whole venture."
The British magazine Films and Filming remarked:
"The purpose of the film is presumably to sell more toys as it unashamedly pushes the message that without at least one Care Bear around life can be very lonely."
Stoffman observed, "one of the youngest target audiences of any animated movie" as did the Halliwell's staff: film critic Leonard Maltin (in his Movie Guide) and Henry Herx (in his Family Guide to Movies on Video).
The 1986 International Film Guide called it "an elementary piece of animation lacking color and character with not much humor, quite lacking in charm, and indifferently scored."
Maltin gave it two stars out of four in his Movie Guide. Similarly, the Gale Group publication "VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever" gave it two bones out of four in its 1997 edition.
According to Derek Owen of Time Out's Film Guide, stating:
"Adults forced to accompany three-year-olds to the movie would have had a little moment of satisfaction when the time came to shovel the Care Bears toys out of the house into landfill sites."
The mixed reception carried on in the years ahead.
In her 1995 book "Inside Kidvid," Loretta MacAlpine said about the movie and its subsequent follow-ups:
"If you can hack the sugarcoated attitudes of this group of cuddly bears, more power to you! There's nothing insidious about the Care Bears, but their overbearing sweetness may not appeal to all viewers." She cautioned parents of the merchandising aspect behind the tapes.
Dave Gathman of Illinois' Courier-News wrote in 1998:
"One Care Bears Movie ... can give all G-rated entertainment a bad name."
In 2003, the Erie Times-News acknowledged its financial success, but commented on its "lack of a creative title."
Animation expert Jerry Beck wrote in his 2005 book, The Animated Movie Guide, stating:
"It's a simple, serviceable adventure with several standout sequences. ... There's no doubt about it, this is a children's film aimed at the under-seven crowd. But it's one of the better animated children's films produced during this period."
At the 1985 Genie Awards in its native Canada, "The Care Bears Movie" won the Golden Reel Award for being the highest-grossing film of the year in the country.
Ron Cohen (the president of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television) presented the award to producers Hirsh, Loubert and Smith.
John Sebastian's song "Nobody Cares Like a Bear" received a Genie nomination for "Best Original Song."
His performance was part of CBC's live telecast of the ceremony on March 20, 1986.
The film received a Young Artist Award nomination for "Best Family Animation Series or Special," but they lost to the CBS series "The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show."
On October 17, 1985 (during its 21st annual award ceremony), Nashville's performance rights organization SESAC honored Woodward and Bird for their songwriting efforts.
Sometime after the movie's release, Children's Video Library (a division of Vestron Video) picked up the video rights to "The Care Bears Movie" for US$1.8 million.
The movie was released in the United States on July 10, 1985 in VHS & Betamax formats.
On August 10, 1985, it debuted in 26th place on Billboard's Top Videocassette Rentals chart.
It ranked fourth on the first edition of Billboard's Top Kid Video chart (on October 5th).
It was tracked by Video Insider's children's chart (on August 30, 1985) as one of five toy-related titles on tape (along with two compilations of Hasbro's Transformers series; another with Hallmark Cards' "Rainbow Brite" and the last with "Strawberry Shortcake").
By 1988, Vestron's edition sold over 140,000 copies. In 1990, Video Treasures reissued it on videocassette.
On October 10, 1995, Hallmark Home Entertainment published another VHS edition as part of a six-title package from Goldwyn and Britain's Rank Organization.
On September 5, 2000, MGM Home Entertainment re-released the film on video as part of its Family Entertainment Collection.
On August 6, 2002, the DVD edition premiered and was packaged with the 1978 British family film "The Water Babies." In 2003, the film was inducted into the MGM Kids line.
On March 20, 2007 (in honor of the Care Bears' 25th anniversary), another DVD edition of the film was released on March 20, 2007 with restored picture quality.
It contained the franchise's second Atkinson Film-Arts special "The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine" as an extra.
American Greetings launched an official anniversary website and a Dodge Grand Caravan giveaway as part of the proceedings.
By 2007, home video sales of "The Care Bears Movie" totalled over five million units.
"The Care Bears Movie" was scheduled to premiere on the U.S. premium television network, Disney Channel in June of 1986, but did so one month in advance.
In September of 1987, the film made its terrestrial broadcast premiere on the ABC network's Saturday morning schedule.
It also aired on American Movie Classics in July of 1991 and on Showtime & The Movie Channel in the 2000s.
In September of 2007, the film aired on Starz Entertainment's Encore channel as part of its "Big '80s" Labor Day marathon, chronicling various releases from that decade.
It was among the first films shown on Canada's Moviepix channel in October of 1994.
As opposed to "Rock & Rule" (which Nelvana owned outright) the characters in "The Care Bears Movie" were the property of American Greetings who paid Nelvana a service fee to work on the movie.
However, Nelvana hardly received any profits from the production; this caused its founders to express regret about the situation.
In "The Nelvana Story", Patrick Loubert explained the catch-22 that they would face numerous times in the years to come:
"We could have waived our fee and taken a big piece of the film. We were offered that deal. But if we had waived the fee, we couldn't have made the payroll. Once the picture was hugely successful, we thought we should have waived the fee. But we couldn't have."
At the time of production, Nelvana had begun embarking on service work that other companies provided them, not only to help ease the debts the studio incurred after "Rock & Rule," but also because it proved profitable in due time.
By 1989, the movie made over US$34 million worldwide, according to Maclean's magazine, making it the highest-grossing animated feature film to come from Canada.
It became the highest-grossing animated film not produced by the Disney company, surpassing the US$11 million of Atlantic Entertainment Group's 1983 release "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute," Don Bluth's 1986 film "An American Tail" and his 1988 film "The Land Before Time" later took over this position.
As of 2014, that title is held by DreamWorks Animation's 2004 film "Shrek 2" with US$441 million.
The film virtually saved a fledgling Nelvana from going out of business and was the company's highest-grossing venture.
It is also among the highest-grossing releases from either incarnation of Samuel Goldwyn.