Atari nabs ‘Despereaux’ game rights

Publisher takes over for Brash Entertainment

Despereaux has found a new home.

Atari has bought North American publishing rights to the videogame version of “The Tale of Despereaux,” Universal’s upcoming toon about a heroic mouse.

Game was set to be released by Brash Entertainment, the film adaptation-focused publisher that went out of business last month. Along with its own versions, Brash also planned to distribute one for Nintendo’s handheld DS produced by Universal, the studio’s first self-funded videogame.

“Despereaux” game was complete when Brash went out of business, but Brash and U had to rush to find another publisher to release the title before the pic’s bow Dec. 19.

“The combination of ‘Tale of Despereaux’s’ strong buzz coupled with the movie’s awareness at retail make this a terrific opportunity for Atari,” said Jim Wilson, Atari North America CEO. “We see the sale potential through next year and beyond.”

Though Brash’s marketing plans won’t be implemented and Atari has no time to prepare, Wilson said he’s confident that several promotions Universal is coordinating for the game will help boost sales.

Atari has bought North American publishing rights on the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PC and agreed to distribute U’s DS version. Deal was completed so late that the game is shipping to stores with Brash’s logo on the box.

Universal and Brash are still seeking a partner to publish the game overseas in conjunction with the pic’s release in foreign territories.

“Despereaux” marks the third movie-based videogame to which Atari has bought publishing rights this fall, following “Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena” and “Ghostbusters,” both of which were dropped by Activision after it merged with Vivendi Games. Recently revitalized publisher on Tuesday announced plans to publish a music game for the Wii and sequels to several of its well-known franchises.

There still are numerous videogames in the works at Brash that are looking for publishers, including the Wii version of “Six Flags Fun Park,” which was set to bow this month, and 2009-10 releases “Saw,” “Night at the Museum 2,” “Clash of the Titans” and “Superman.”

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