ON Animation Studios, the banner behind the award-winning “The Little Prince,” is partnering with “Moana’s” head of animation, Hyrum Osmond, on “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” an animated feature based on Winsor McCay’s fantasy-adventure comic series.
Osmond will direct “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” which is budgeted in the $70 million range and centers on a young boy who journeys through the land of dreams. As with ON Animation’s other projects, such as “The Little Prince” and “The Playmobil Movie” (currently in production), “Little Nemo in Slumberland” is based on a high-profile franchise and will aim at reaching family audiences globally. “The Little Prince” won Cesar and BAFTA awards, was released in more than 120 countries and grossed $120 million worldwide.
ON Animation is the production company of Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam. The pair, plus Alexis Vonarb and Emmanuel Jacomet, will produce “Little Nemo” between Paris and Montreal, where the company has offices.
Soumache described the “Little Nemo” comic series as a cross between “Alice in Wonderland” and “Hook,” and said it was ideal for present-day animation. “The strip is truly an unlimited source for astonishing adventures. McCay created a world made for CGI a century before the technology existed,” Soumache said. “It’s a passion project at the heart of ON Animation’s philosophy: a beloved property leading to a story of emotional truth, set against a never-before-seen world.”
“Little Nemo in Slumberland” is backed by a strong creative team, including Lino DiSalvo, the head of animation on “Frozen” who is currently directing “The Playmobil Movie,” and Tito Ortiz, the former vice president of Illumination Entertainment. On top of serving as producers on “Little Nemo,” both DiSalvo and Ortiz will spearhead creative development at the studio.
“Our ambition is to build long-term, nurturing relationships with talented creatives and produce projects we develop in-house,” said Soumache.
Osmond, whose credits, besides the Oscar-nominated “Moana” (pictured), include “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” said he was honored to “have the opportunity to direct a film based upon the work of Winsor McCay.”
“‘Little Nemo in Slumberland’ is a masterpiece that has influenced generations all over the world, breaking new ground in visual storytelling. I look forward to joining the amazing team at ON Animation to bring this beloved work to life,” said Osmond.
DiSalvo, who worked with Osmond at Disney Animation on several movies such as “Tangled,” said he had “great story instincts.” “He’s the perfect addition to our growing roster of talent in Montreal. I’m so excited to be collaborating with Osmond on such a beloved property and look forward to continuing the hard work we started many years ago at Disney Animation,” added DiSalvo.
ON Animation is part of ON Kids & Family, which is currently in final negotiations to join forces with European media conglomerate Mediawan.