‘Bee Movie’ helmer buzzes ‘Madagascar’ spinoff

Scene-stealing penguins will anchor DWA feature

DreamWorks Animation has tapped Simon Smith, co-director of “Bee Movie,” to helm its untitled “Madagascar” spinoff focusing on the scene-stealing penguins.

Smith will direct from a script by “Megamind” scribes Brent Simons and Alan J. Schoolcraft, while Lara Breay (“Megamind”) has come onboard to produce. Pic, which has not started casting, will chronicle further adventures of the four mischievous but lovable penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Private and Rico.

The quartet have their own TV show, “The Penguins of Madagascar,” now airing its second season on Nickelodeon, and have starred in a direct-to-DVD pic and a short game. The penguins also have their own games and a comic book scripted by David Server and Jackson Lanzing. They will also be brought back for the third “Madagascar,” skedded for June 8, 2012.

Smith is a DWA animator who, in addition to directing animated shorts for the company’s DVD extras, directed the “Shrek 4-D” animated attraction for Universal Studios theme park.

DWA’s Jerry Seinfeld-starrer “Bee Movie,” which Smith co-directed with Steve Hickner, grossed more than $287 million worldwide back in 2007.

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