Pic stars ape skilled in martial arts

BERLIN — German film fund Apollo Media is bankrolling “Karate Chimps,” a family-oriented action comedy about a simian trained in the martial arts.

Apollo’s Frank Huebner, Quality International’s Jan Fantl and Signature Entertainment’s Moshe Diamant are producing the pic, which is being directed by Gene Quintano. Quintano penned the trio’s recent co-productions “The Musketeer” and “Extremists.”

Huebner, Fantl and Diamant also produced the upcoming thriller from helmer Bill Malone, “Fear.com.”

Apollo has a non-exclusive relationship with Diamant, but Huebner said he hopes there will be more joint projects to come. “You don’t change a winning team,” he said.

Budgeted north of 28 million euros ($25 million), “Chimps” will be backed by the $54 million Apollo Media 5 fund, which is finance around 10 projects, including “Boat Trip,” Samuel L. Jackson-starrer “No Good Deed,” “Kart Racer,” “Animal Tales” and “George and the Dragon.” The budgets for the projects start at $2 million.

“Chimps” will begin lensing Dec. 18, although a cast is yet to be signed. Pic will lense in the U.K., Luxembourg and Germany.

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