Open Road Films Acquires Animated Feature Film PLAYMOBIL Based on Iconic Toy Brand
Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films, today announced the acquisition of all U.S. distribution rights to the animated feature film PLAYMOBIL, which will be directed by Disney veteran Lino DiSalvo and produced by the team behind The Little Prince (Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam, Alexis Vonarb) along with Axel Von Maydell (morgen studios) and Moritz Borman.
Open Road Films will release PLAYMOBIL nationwide in the U.S. on January 18, 2019.
PLAYMOBIL was developed in cooperation with Pathé France and will be sold internationally by Lionsgate and Wild Bunch.
PLAYMOBIL toys have become a classic throughout children's playrooms, and have produced over 2.9 billion figurines in more than 100 countries - making it one of the world's most successful toy brands.
DiSalvo will make his directorial debut on PLAYMOBIL after spending 17 years at Disney Animation, where he served as head of animation on Frozen, the highest grossing animated film of all time. Di Salvo also worked as animation supervisor on Tangled and Bolt. Blaise Hemingway, also from Disney, is writing the screenplay.
"The creative team behind PLAYMOBIL has crafted a wildly inventive, hilarious and heart-warming story that is certain to be exciting for the whole family" stated Ortenberg. "We are thrilled to get to work - or should I say 'play?' - with Lino and his team."
"PLAYMOBIL has conquered children's hearts worldwide, growing beyond cultural and language barriers," stated producer Moritz Borman. "Animation is the perfect medium to pay tribute to this cult toy and we're very excited to launch this franchise with Open Road."
"With PLAYMOBIL, children can not only play many roles, but also recreate and experience different worlds in miniature and mix them together. There are no rules. The movie will be a great tribute to that fantastic power of imagination," stated producer Axel Von Maydell.
Producers Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam and Alexis Vonarb added: "Lino is a uniquely talented director and a wonderful storyteller. He has gathered an all-star team of artists for this project, bringing his experience from Disney and his love for PLAYMOBIL. This is an incredibly exciting time for our studio and we are looking forward to working with Tom Ortenberg and his team on the film."
"PLAYMOBIL is such a special toy - the epic sets and cool little characters with endless story telling possibilities. It's a wonderful place for an animated world," said director Lino DiSalvo.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road Films by CEO Tom Ortenberg, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, Elliott Kleinberg and Senior Vice President of Production and Acquisitions Sophie Cassidy, with CAA and Barry Hirsch (Hirsch Wallerstein, Hayum, Matlof and Fishman) acting for the producers.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Lino DiSalvo joined Walt Disney Animation Studios as an Animator in 1997 after graduating from Vancouver Film School in British Columbia. A 16 year veteran of Walt Disney Animation Studios, DiSalvo served as Head of Animation on the Academy Award®-winning and highest-grossing animated feature of all time Frozen. Prior to Frozen, he served as Supervising Animator on Tangled and Bolt. His other film credits include animating on Meet the Robinsons and Chicken Little. Leaving Disney in 2014, he served as creative director at Paramount Animation before joining producers Rassam, Soumache and Vonarb to direct PLAYMOBIL, a major animated feature film based on the iconic toy brand.
Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam and Alexis Vonarb partnered up almost 15 years ago to produce international feature films. With facilities in Paris, Los Angeles and Montreal, their studio combines creativity, innovation and world-class talents to develop animated and live-action feature films with meaningful stories and compelling characters that will spark the imagination of audiences worldwide. Among the studio's latest creation is The Little Prince, the animated adaptation of the masterpiece by Antoine de St Exupery which has won the hearts of audiences around the world.
ABOUT OPEN ROAD FILMS
Open Road Films is a leading, independent, theatrical motion picture company, releasing a diverse slate of star-driven films which has included multiple #1 releases and enormous critical response. The company was founded in 2011 by AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) and Regal Entertainment Group (Regal), the two largest theatrical exhibition companies in the United States. The uniquely formed company is widely known as a filmmaker-focused distributor that supports both box office hits and top prestige titles.
Open Road Films led the 2016 critically-acclaimed film, Spotlight, to win the Oscar® for Best Picture, BECOMING the youngest studio in history win the big prize. The film, which has earned almost $45 million at the U.S. box-office, stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James, Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup was directed by Tom McCarthy, who also won the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay, with his co-writer (and executive producer) Josh Singer. Spotlight has won numerous high profile critics and guild awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble Award and the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature Film. Spotlight also appeared on over 250 critics' Top Ten lists for 2016.
Other notable Open Road Films releases include: Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, which took the #1 spot at the box-office during its opening week and received an Oscar® nomination for Best Original Screenplay, along with a Golden Globe nomination - it was named one of the best films of 2014 by the AFI and National Board of Review and top critics nationwide; the hit film Chef, written by, directed by and starring Jon Favreau along with Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey, Jr.; The Nut Job, which opened to over $25 million at the box office as the highest ever opening for an independent animated film; The Grey, directed by Joe Carnahan and starring Liam Neeson, which opened #1 at the box office; End Of Watch, directed by David Ayer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, which opened #1 at the box office; Rosewater, written and directed by Jon Stewart; A Haunted House starring Marlon Wayans; and Side Effects, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum.
Upcoming Open Road Films releases include: Gleason (7/29/16), the hit documentary from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival; Snowden (9/16/16), written and directed by Oliver Stone starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo ,Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood and Timothy Olyphant; Sleepless (2/24/17), starring Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan; Bleed For This (11/4/16), starring Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart and Katey Sagal and directed by Ben Younger; and Blazing Samurai (4/14/2017), the animated family film featuring the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Mel Brooks, Michael Cera, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh and more; The Nut Job 2 (5/19/17), the sequel to the 2014 hit animated film, featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Dunham, Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Cannavale, Isabela Moner, Gabriel Iglesias, Sebastian Maniscalco and Peter Stormare; and Show Dogs (10/13/17), a live action family comedy from the director of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Scooby Doo and The Smurfs.
The company, led by industry veteran CEO Tom Ortenberg, is based in Los Angeles.