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Paramount Pictures Inks Deal With Locksmith Animation

LONDON — Paramount Pictures and Locksmith Animation, which launched in 2014 with backing from Elisabeth Murdoch, have inked a deal to co-develop and co-produce a series of animated projects for the studio.

Under the pact, Paramount and Locksmith are progressing three properties, which Locksmith has been developing since it launched, with plans to head into production within the next 12 months and to release the first theatrical movie in 2020. The deal also contemplates developing other projects together over time to create a pipeline of releases.

Locksmith, which claims to be the U.K.’s first dedicated high-end CG feature animation studio, was founded by writer/director Sarah Smith (“Arthur Christmas”) and producer Julie Lockhart (“Shaun the Sheep Movie,” “Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!”), with backing from Murdoch.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Elisabeth Murdoch and Locksmith Animation to develop an exciting series of new films,” said Brad Grey, chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures. “The unparalleled experience and talents of Elisabeth, Sarah and Julie will enrich our animation studio and further our commitment to creating world-class entertainment for audiences of all ages around the world.”

Smith said: “We are delighted Paramount has responded with enthusiasm to our ambitious and original slate of films, and will go forward to take them to a global audience.”

Lockhart added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to build London as a world-class animation hub. Paramount has a wealth of experience and expertise in distributing animated features and we are thrilled to partner in this venture.”

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