‘Nascar’ animated movie revs up

Tinseltown Toons to produce direct-to-DVD pic

Nascar is revving up plans to get into the animated film business, pairing up with Larry Kasanoff’s Tinseltown Toons to produce “Nascar: The Secret Life of Cars.”

The direct-to-DVD pic will be distribbed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment in 2011. The final title may change.

Film, which will detail what happens in a Nascar garage when the humans have left and the cars come to life, is being eyed as a way for the racing org to try to lure a younger generation of fans at a time when the sport is watching its viewership head in reverse.

Decision to venture into toon territory also comes after Disney and Pixar proved with “Cars” that animated auto racing can play big with audiences; pic not only was a winner at the B.O. but has continued to generate considerable coin from licensing and merchandise.

“We are excited to get involved with a project that will highlight the thrills and excitement of racing to a new generation of fans,” said Brad Ball, veep of entertainment and marketing for Nascar and Nascar Media Group. “We know toy cars are a big part of the playground environment, and giving those cars a personality surrounding Nascar racing will provide entertainment for the family while evoking the imagination of kids everywhere.”

Tom Rogers, who wrote the scripts for Disney’s “Tinkerbell” and “Lion King 1½”) will pen the Nascar toon, based on an original idea by Tinseltown Toons’ Joshua Wexler.

Sarah Nettinga, managing director of film, television and entertainment of Nascar and Nascar Media Group, will oversee the project’s development and production for Nascar.

Project marks one of the first from Tinseltoon, after having produced DVD pics based on characters from Lego’s “Bionicle” line of toys.

“Developing high quality animated projects with brands of the caliber of Nascar is the very essence of what Tinseltown Toons’ productions are supposed to be,” Kasanoff said. “By creating family friendly programming, we are able to not only reinforce brand identity, but expose these brands to a wider demographic.”

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