Warner Bros. Pictures will handle domestic distribution of the first all-CGI-animated film in the popular “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, while the Weinstein Co. will take international territories.
Warners will release the pic on March 30, 2007. An overseas release date was not announced.
TWC and Warners jointly acquired worldwide distribution rights last fall from Imagi Services, which obtained the production and distrib rights from the Mirage Group, which in turns owns and manages the popular kids franchise.
Animation vet Kevin Munroe is directing and writing. He developed the screenplay in consultation with “Turtles” comicbook co-creator Peter Laird.
” ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ represents a brand that is widely recognized all around the world, and we think this new CG version will be a huge hit among audiences everywhere,” said TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein, who made the announcement with Warner Bros. Pictures prexy of distribution Dan Fellman.
Studio and TWC said the new PG-rated film will be slightly grittier than the three live-action “Turtles” movies released by New Line more than a decade ago. Combined, those three pics grossed more than $256 million at the U.S. box office.
Imagi USA prexy-CEO Thomas K. Gray, who produced two of the earlier “Turtles” films, and Galen Walker are producing. Francis Kao, Laird, Gary Richardson and Frederick Fierst are exec producers.
CGI animation is being created in Imagi’s facility in Hong Kong.
Interest in the franchise enjoyed a resurgence in 2003 when the “Turtles” returned to Cartoon Network and Fox’s 4Kids TV in the U.S. as well as on international channels.