Distrib plans 7,000-screen rollout

LYON, France

Pascal Morelli’s “The Prince and the Demon-Kings” has found a home in China, where co-producer Mark Gao’s Fundamental Films will be distributing, giving it a blockbuster treatment. Toon is one of the first projects to benefit from the Gallic-Sino movie treaty.

Presented at Lyon’s co-production forum Cartoon Movie on Thursday, “Demon-Kings” — previously set up at MK2 — will be sold internationally by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, which has taken homevideo rights for France. It marks EuropaCorp’s return to animation after Besson said last year that his company would no longer produce toons itself.

“Demon-Kings” is in production and will be delivered in April 2014. Fundamental is planning a summer rollout on a massive 7,000 screens, said Vincent Roget, who is lead-producing with Same Player’s Francois Cornuau and Eric Lavaine.

Inspired by the 14th century Chinese classic novel “Outlaws of the Water Margin,” the feature is set in 6th century China, and turns on the adventures of a 10-year-old prince who, helped by a dozen outlaws, goes on a mission to crush the army of a tyrannical leader.

Toon, produced in 2D and 3D versions, was shot in studios in Beijing and Belgium using motion capture for the actors and integrating animated characters and background.

“The Prince and the Demon-Kings” will mix comedy and epic adventure in the spirit of Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers, according to Roget.

It’s Same Player’s first foray into toons — the shingle has a track record in mainstream comedies, such as Valerie Lemercier starrer “Welcome Abroad.”

Although EuropaCorp signed a three-year output agreement with Fundamental in July, the co-production/distribution pact between Same Player and Fundamental over “Demon-Kings” was negotiated independently.

“Demon-Kings” is co-produced by Kayenta Prods., Luxembourg’s Bidibul Prods., Belgium’s Scope Pictures, France 3 Cinema and Gebeka Films, which will distribute in France. It’s also received coin from the CNC and Eurimages, among other institutions.

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