ANNECY — “The Artist” producer Thomas Langmann is on board to co-develop “Mummyland,” an ambitious English-language action comedy toonpic targeting the international market.
Franck Mettre is lead producing with Serge Autard, via Paris-based shingle Hop Animation. ISF Cinema is co-developing with Langmann’s La Petite Reine.
Project was unveiled to Variety at Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival’s market, MIFA, on Wednesday.
A 3D family film, the colorful “Mummyland” follows the journey of a dad who takes his 10-year-old son on a trip to Egypt, hoping to re-establish their bond following his divorce. As they visit a pyramid, they stumble on a hidden underground city populated by friendly mummies. “It’s the start of an adventure during which father and son will team up to save the endangered Mummyland, and rediscover their long-lost relationship,” said Mettre.
A duo of promising helmers, Thierry Marchand and Emud Mokhberi, whose short “Oktapodi” was nominated for an Oscar in 2009, have been tapped to direct.
Budgeted at around the $30 million mark, “Mummyland” ranks as one of the most ambitious mainstream animated projects being developed in France, along with “Ballerina” from “Intouchables” producers Quad and Gaumont, and “The Ghosts of Pere Lachaise,” from De Films en Aiguilles and Alain Attal (“Blood Ties”) at Les Productions du Tresor.
Thomas Saignes at indie shingle Tomato Pictures serves as associate producer and is in charge of putting together the financing for the film, which will be set up as a French-Canadian co-production.
Mikros Image Animation, the recently launched toon division of the Paris-headquartered studio, is in talks to work on the project. Mikros Image won an Oscar in 2010 for animated short “Logorama.” Its slate boasts such big-budgeted, high-profile projects as “Asterix, The Land of Gods,” “Mune” and “The Little Prince.”
Mettre said “Mummyland” has also drawn interests from various Gallic company that would take French distribution rights and possibly international sales.
Langmann last ventured into animation with Patrice Leconte’s “The Suicide Shop.” “Mummyland,” which is slated for a 2016 delivery, is definitely a more mainstream, family-oriented project.