Exodus to animation

Producer diverts live-action coin to toons

Demonstrating the popularity and profitability of CG animation, Exodus Film Group has dropped two live-action pics from its three-picture, $50 million film fund and replaced them with new toons.

Company has picked for development “The Hero of Color City” and “Amarillo Armadillo,” which it will produce alongside “Igor,” a CG pic starring Christian Slater that’s already in production.

“Color City,” penned by J.P. McCormick and Rich Raczelowski, concerns a group of crayons protecting their homeland from an evil tyrant. “Amarillo Armadillo,” from scribe Robert S. Kahn, follows the adventures of an oil prospector, an armadillo and a horned toad in 1920s Texas.

Exodus is hoping to make “Color City” for about $5 million and “Amarillo” for $10 million-$15 million. Budgeted around $30 million, “Igor” is set to take up the rest of the film fund raised from private equity investors.

Former WB animation topper Max Howard exec produces all three pics.

“Igor” is being made inhouse with Exodus’ animation partner ElectroAge. Company may seek outside assistance for the two new pics.

“For our investors, ‘Igor’ has been the apple of our fund, so we were looking for two strong animation properties to follow it up and fulfill the demand to replace the live-action movies,” said Exodus prexy John Eraklis.

While company hopes to land theatrical distribution, new toons are being made with homevid release and merchandising opportunities in mind.

Exodus still aims to produce “55 Holly Star” and “My Life With Three Women” with outside financing. It’s also using outside coin for toon “Pavlov’s Dog,” which it’s co-producing with Howard’s Melwood Pictures.