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A-listers lending pipes to build ‘Robots’

3-D toon draws celebs as pic preps for 2005 release

HOLLYWOOD — Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry and Mel Brooks will provide the starring voices of the 20th Century Fox Animation production “Robots.”

Already two months into work on the computer-generated 3-D animation, “Robots” is being produced by the “Ice Age” team of Blue Sky Studios and director Chris Wedge.

With a release date of March 11, 2005, exactly three years after “Ice Age,” pic will also feature the voices of Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Giamatti, Dan Hedaya, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Harland Williams, Sofia Vergara and Amanda Bynes.

Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (“Parenthood”) and based on a story by playwright-author David Lindsay-Abaire, “Robots” is the story of a young genius who wants his robots to make the world a better place. He falls in love with a sexy executive robot and must face down a corporate tyrant and aid a master inventor.

“The story really began as a collaboration between Wedge and (children’s author and illustrator) William Joyce,” Fox Animation prexy Chris Meledandri told Daily Variety. “They came up with the idea of this whimsical robot world.”

Companies that have already committed to global marketing partnerships are Mattel, Burger King, Kellogg’s, Keebler, Hewlett Packard, HarperCollins and Vivendi Universal Games. Meledandri was skedded to make a major “Robots” presentation to the Licensing Show in New York Monday evening.

Meledandri said Fox is developing about eight animation projects, including a sequel to “Ice Age.”

“Our movies will overlap, but we’re not interested in increasing the output,” he said. “We’d rather spend more time and effort on fewer projects.”

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