SM forges partnership with Disney

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Through this collaboration, Filipinos will get a taste of the "Disney experience" at SM's many leisure and entertainment properties.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Aiming to bring the Disney brand closer to Filipinos, the SM Group officially announced on Tuesday (September 1) its partnership with The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia.

Through this joint venture, Filipinos will get a taste of the "Disney experience" at SM's many leisure and entertainment properties.

"We have worked with the various arms of the SM group over the years and we are delighted to announce our collaboration on a comprehensive plan," Rob Gilby, managing director of The Walt Disney Company Southteast Asia, said.

All of SM's subsidiaries — malls, supermarkets, department and toy stores, cinemas, and even its newly launched Blink mobile app — will cater innovative Disney offerings to the public.

"We are thrilled to be associated with the iconic Walt Disney Company," said Edgar Tejerero, president of SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc.

Paul Candland, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia, added that Disney would want to become "part of the cultural fabric of the Philippines."

Asked on why they chose to partner with the SM Group, Gilby reasoned that "the fans are the strongest in the Philippines."

He, however, shut down the possibility of opening a Disney theme park in the country.

SM-Disney_CNNPH.png A light moment during the SM-Disney announcement when Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings, and Paul Candland, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia, crossed "lightsabers."  

To jumpstart the collaboration and to also welcome the latest movie to the Star Wars franchise, SM and Disney will launch Star Wars Galactic Christmas, an exhibit which includes life-size figurines of the movie's characters, interactive games, and official merchandise.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters in the Philippines on December 17, according to Tejerero.

Related: The Force is back: New 'Star Wars' teaser trailer released

The SM Group has 52 malls across the country.