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Berlin: Open Road Takes ‘Blazing Samurai’ for U.S.

Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Mass Animation’s family film “Blazing Samurai,” loosely based on 1974’s “Blazing Saddles,” and set an  April 14, 2017, release date.

GFM Films is handling international sales in Berlin Film Festival and providing production funding.

“Blazing Samurai” is directed by Chris Bailey (“Alvin and the Chipmunks”) and Mark Koetsier (“Kung Fu Panda”) from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper.

Producers are Rob Minkoff (director of “The Lion King”) through his Cinemation banner; Yair Landau, president and founder of Mass Animation; and Susan Purcell.

The story revolves around a scrappy young dog who fights to save a town from becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord.

Open Road’s first animated release was “The Nut Job,” which grossed $64 million last year in the U.S.

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road Films by Tom Ortenberg, Elliott Kleinberg and Peter Lawson. Emanuel Nunez and Adam Kanter of Paradigm negotiated on behalf of Mass Animation, Cinemation and the filmmakers, along with Harold Brown of Gang Tyre Ramer and Brown.

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