ANNECY — Grindstone Entertainment has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to “Pinocchio,” one of the standout Italian animated features of the last year.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment will handle the release across all media platforms.

Grindstone’s acquisitions head Stan Wertlieb and Sebastien Chesneau, the international sales head at Paris-based Rezo, brokered the deal.

“I have seen the joy in children’s eyes as they watch this beautiful family classic: Truly a joy,” Wertlieb commented.

Eagerly anticipated at September’s Venice Festival, where it world premiered opening Venice Days, the long-in-the-works movie now needs to close deals in Asia and Latin America to be almost sold out worldwide, added Chesneau.

In unannounced Rezo sales deals, Rialto Distribution has closed Australia/New Zealand, Angel Films Scandinavia, Medyavizyon Turkey, Aurora Poland, Cinetel Hungary, Tucuman Distribuidora de Filmes Brazil, PVR India, and Tuck Vision ex-Yugoslavia.

Of major territory deals, Koch Media has inked German-speaking territories and the U.K,, Premium Film Russia/CIS, and Dreamwest Pics South Korea.

From late February, Gebeka Films, Lucky Red and Cineart opened “Pinocchio” in France, Italy and Benelux respectively. “Pinocchio” grossed Euros1.4 million ($1.85 million) for Lucky Red, $1.2 million for Gebeka.

Rezo’s new deals signal substantial sales success for “Pinocchio,” a title which, like many toon pics coming out of Europe these days, targets tykes and their parents like Hollywood toons, but offers in some way “alternative” entertainment.

Here, this is a version of “Pinocchio” that adapts Italian author Carlo Collodi’s 1880 serialized account of the misadventures of the mischievous Pinocchio rather than seeking inspiration in the Disney classic.

“Pinocchio” is produced by Italy’s Cometa Film, working with companies based out of Europe’s “golden triangle” of animation co-production: Luxembourg (Iris Productions, which holds down a co-production alliance with Rezo), Belgium (Walking the Dog) and France (2d3D Animations).

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.