Sony to release 'Arthur,' 'Pirates'

Aardman Features has begun production on two animated feature films, “Arthur Christmas” and “Pirates!” with Sony on board to release both.

Sony and Aardman, best known for its stop-motion style of animation, made the joint announcement Monday. Sony signed a a three-year, first-look deal with Aardman Features in 2007.

“Pirates!” is based on “The Pirates! (in an Adventure with Scientists)” from the series of books by Gideon Defoe. Story will follow the fortunes of a cheerful but hapless pirate band in an attempt to win the Pirate of the Year trophy.

Pic will be directed by Peter Lord, a founding partner of Aardman and director of “Chicken Run” with Nick Park and co-directed by Jeff Newitt with Defoe penning the script.

Producer is Julie Lockhart with Carla Shelley, Peter Lord, and David Sproxton exec producing.

“Arthur Christmas,” a CGI project, will reveal Santa’s high-tech operation. Aardman is working closely with Sony Pictures Imageworks on the animation.

“Arthur Christmas” is directed by Sarah Smith and Barry Cook from a screenplay by Peter Baynham (“Borat”) and Sarah Smith.

Producer is Cheryl Abood with Steve Pegram co-producing and Carla Shelley, Peter Lord and David Sproxton exec producing.

Aardman’s three features — “Chicken Run,” “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” and “Flushed Away” — have grossed about $600 million worldwide.

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