MK2, Onyx adapt hit children series MK2, Onyx join forces

Two years after they launched vidgame development shingle MKO, MK2 topper Nathanael Karmitz and  Onyx Films’ president Aton Soumache are teaming up to produce a 3-D animated film and videogame based on Antoon Krings’ bestselling children series “Funny Little Bugs.”

 Budgeted at $33 million, the “Bugs” toon and vidgame will be produced simultaneously by MKO. Kringe will co-direct the family-oriented toon, which is in development and will begin production in January 2010. 

“Through MKO we want to make the worlds of cinema, audiovisual and videogame fuse artistically,” said Karmitz. “This synergy allows us to coordinate production, distribution, marketing and publishing and retain all the distribution rights. “

MKO will then package the videogame and the toon for distribution.

Karmitz said he and Soumache are in advanced talks with a partner to help them structure the distribution. 

The French duo is also in negotiations with the estate of Charlie Chaplin to develop a film as well as a videogame. The multi-platform game will follow the character of “Charlot” through different adventures mixing humor and poetry. Production will begin in September for a planned December 2011 release. 

Another MKO videogame project, “Le Petit Prince,” based on Antoine de Saint Exupery’s children’s classic, is targeted for a December 2010 release. Via his shingle Onyx, Soumache is producing a TV toon series of 26 52-minute episodes  for Gallic commercial net M6. He’s also considering developing an animated film for theatrical release. 

In the videogame, the prince travels from planet to planet to resolve problems and chase negative thoughts, which will show up in the game as dark clouds.  

 “We strongly believe in both Chaplin and Le Petit Prince because they’re evergreen properties that have built marketing,” Soumache said.

Budgeted at an estimated $11 million each, both games will feature virtual worlds.

 Karmitz and Soumache have been on the forefront of 3-D digital entertainment in Gaul.

 MK2, which is a vertically integrated business, has equipped seven theaters which they own across Paris with 3-D technology.

Meanwhile, Soumache’s Onyx has championed the use of motion-capture mixed with 3-D in France with his thriller “Prodigies,” which was just picked up in Cannes by Warner Bros. for U.S. distribution.

“As producers, we make auteur-driven films and we intend to keep the same mandate and state of mind for our video games,” said Karmitz.

At Cannes, MK2 has picked up a couple of arthouse titles.

MK2 teamed up with Paris-based co-prod shingle Ad Vitam to nab international rights to Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition screener “Vincere,” which examines the life of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s secret child. Karmitz’s company also snatched up worldwide rights to docu “Ayo Joy,” about the Afro-German singer-songwriter.

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