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Duo prep S3D superhero toon

'Lady Bug' to involve toys, comicbooks, Apple apps

CANNES — Leading French production outfits Univergroup Pictures and Onyx Films are joining forces to produce “Miraculous Lady Bug,” a stereoscopic 3D superhero toon.

Project was announced at Cannes’ Mipcom mart Monday.

With an estimated budget of $50 million, the Paris-set animated feature follows a teenage superhero. And while she protects the city from all threats, she also deals with secret crushes and grades like any girl her age.

“We want to create a glamourous superhero character with a real European flair with Paris as backdrop,” said Aton Soumache, prexy of Onyx Films.

Gallic animator and storyboard artist Thomas Astruc, who came up with the original concept, will helm the feature and the TV series.

Jeremy Zag, co-prexy of Univergroup, said the outfits are developing a 360-degree strategy to build a franchise in the vein of Saban properties.

“We’re holding negotiations with a high-profile toy manufacturer and we’ve partnered up with the French licensing group Spel, which will handle ‘Lady Bug’s’ home retail merchandising,” Zag said.

Univergroup will launch 10 comicbooks, penned by Astruc, for iPad and Iphone applications.

A Paris-based outfit, Univergroup was co-founded by Jacqueline Tordjman, an animation vet who worked closely with Haim Saban and brought many cult shows to France, including “Goldorak” and “Gadget and the Gadgetini.”

Soumache, Zag and Tordjman also are developing a “Lady Bug” animated spinoff series via their respective TV production companies, Method Animation and Zagtoon.

At Mipcom, Zagtoon is launching “Arthur,” the $13 million animated series co-produced with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. The 52 13-minute episodes center on the leading character of Besson’s “Arthur and the Minimoys.”

Soumache has been on the forefront of S3D animation in France with a flurry of high-bracket projects (by European standards) on its slate, including “The Prodigies,” which will be distribbed in France by Warner Bros. and “Mune,” a $40 million eco-adventure fantasy directed by Benoit Philippon and Alexandre Heboyan (“Kung Fu Panda”).

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