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AFM: China Lion Picks ‘Patrick,’ Boards Animation ‘Extinct’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Multi-territory distributor China Lion Entertainment Production has picked up China rights to family entertainment film “Patrick.” Operating as a producer-financier, China Lion has also boarded “Extinct,” an animation project to be directed by “Monsters Inc.” co-director David Silverman.

“Patrick” is the story of a young woman whose already messy life is made more complicated when she inherits her grandmother’s defiant dog. The film, which will be released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Buena Vista Intl. in the U.K., is directed by Mandie Fletcher from a script by Fletcher and Vanessa Davies. It stars Jennifer Saunders, Emilia Jones and Gemma Joneswill.

China Lion acquired rights through sales company The Exchange. It plans a mainland China release in the third quarter of 2018.

“Extinct” involves several members of the team behind “The Simpsons” including writers Joel Cohen, John Frink and Rob LaZebnik. Silverman was also director of the 2007 “The Simpsons Movie.” China Lion will co-finance and co-produce.

The story involves an adorable species of fluffy animals, called flummels. When two flummels are transported into the present day, they learn that their genus has become extinct, and travel back in time to try to save their race. The producers have tentatively set the worldwide release for the first quarter of 2020.

“Animation is a very suitable genre for co-productions,” said China Lion president & CEO Jiang Yanmin. “Characters in animation films are [anthropomorphic] animals or [cartoon] human beings, which fundamentally saves us from the difficulty of catering all markets with one set of cast. Also, animation films always have a distance from the real world and are full of imagination, which provides enough space for elements from different cultures to co-exist.”

China Lion, which has pioneered the international distribution of Chinese commercial movies through its sister company, many on a day-and-date basis, now operates regularly in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. It also imports titles into China.

Its production and development slate spans co-production projects including “Kidnap the Panda,” “Spaghetti Versus Noodle,” “Hitman’s Delight” and “Last Resort.”

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