BERLIN — “Frozen’s” head of animation Lino Di Salvo has come on board to direct “Playmobil: Robbers, Thieves & Rebels,” the $75 million animated feature film based on the iconic toy brand.
Di Salvo, who spent 17 years at Disney Animation, was head of animation for “Frozen,” which scored more than $1.2 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Di Salvo also served as animation supervisor on “Tangled” and “Bolt.” He joined Paramount Animation as creative director back in 2014.
The animated feature is being produced by Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache’s ON Animation Studios, the Paris-based shingle behind Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince.” France’s powerhouses Wild Bunch and Pathe are handling international sales, with Pathe set to distribute in France.
“I’ve learned most of my skills by growing up in the Disney system; I was very fortunate to work on films like ‘Tangled’ and ‘Frozen,'” said Lino DiSalvo. “I am thrilled at the prospect of developing the Playmobil film. As a father and a filmmaker, to create a film about your son’s favorite toy, what else do you want?”
“Lino is an amazing storyteller, and brings to Playmobil his wealth of experience at Disney and his love for the Playmobil toy culture,” Soumache and Rassam added.
The only indie player in France able to finance an animated project of that scale without a U.S. studio, ON Entertainment is developing “Playmobil” as the first opus of a trilogy based on the toy brand, which has sold more than 2.8 billion figurines in more than 100 countries.
ON Entertainment is coming off “The Little Prince,” which was 2015’s highest-grossing French animated feature overseas and earned its producers, Rassam and Soumache, UniFrance’s 2015 French Cinema Award.
“Playmobil” is set for a worldwide release at the end of 2018.