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‘Duke’ of Detweiler sniffs out Keystone

Company takes second shot at canine genre

Keystone Entertainment, the company behind “Air Bud,” last year’s family hit about a basketball-playing golden retriever, is taking another shot at the canine genre with “The Duke.”

Keystone has optioned an original screenplay by scribe Craig Detweiler, and plans to turn the film into its next family franchise. “Air Bud” — which was distributed by Walt Disney Co. in the U.S. — already has spawned a sequel, “Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver,” which begins shooting in the spring. Disney has first option on U.S. rights.

Comedy “Duke” is the tale of a faithful bloodhound who inherits the estate of his master, the Duke of Dingwall, and promptly causes chaos among the British aristocracy. “This script fits our strategy of producing family films with franchise capabilities for features, sequels, television movies and series through to cartoons,” said Anne Vince, Keystone vice president and director of its family division.

“Bud,” which was distributed internationally by Keystone, a Vancouver and Malibu-based sales and distribution company, grossed a solid $23 million in the U.S. Other projects on the company’s slate include the film noir “Hoods,” starring Joe Mantegna, Kevin Pollak, Joe Pantoliano and Jennifer Tilly, directed by Mark Malone (“Killer”).

Detweiler’s deal was negotiated by his attorney Tony Blain; Keystone was represented by Gail Schracht, vice president of business affairs.

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