TFI backs new ‘War of the Buttons’

One World produces, Yann Samuell directs

Paris-based TF1 Intl. has acquired worldwide rights to a new adaptation of Louis Pergaud’s classic novel “La guerre des boutons” (War of the Buttons), a family comedy about a play-war between two gangs of kids living in neighboring villages.

Yann Samuell, who scored a 2010 Cannes sales hit with Sophie Marceau starrer “With Love From the Age of Reason,” is attached to write and direct.

UGC Distribution, TF1 Intl.’s French domestic distribution partner, will release the new “Buttons” in France on Nov. 23.

The Euros12.8 million ($17.1 million) family comedy is produced by Marc du Pontavice and Didier Lupfer at One World Films, producers of Joann Sfar’s “Gainsbourg.”

First published in 1912, and inspiring numerous reprints and even a Paris society, Les Amis de Louis Pergaud, “Buttons” was adapted to the big screen in Jacques Daroy’s 1936 “La Guerre des gosses” and gave Gallic director Yves Robert one of the biggest hits of his career with 1962’s “La Guerre des boutons.”

Samuell’s adaptation will be set in the 1960s, remain faithful to the fundamentals of the original story, but introduce a female character into the Longevernes kid clans, said TF1 Intl. sources.

Mathilde Seigner (“Harry, He’s Here to Help”) plays the mother of Lebrac, one of the kids.

Shooting from mid-April in the South of France, “Buttons” joins a building bevy of French comedies, which draw inspiration from French classics, such as Dany Boon’s “Welcome to the Sticks,” made in the vein of comedies by Gerard Oury.

These are increasingly finding markets abroad: “Sticks” alone grossed more than $50 million outside France.

TF1 Intl. will introduce “Buttons” to buyers at next month’s European Film Market.

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