FilmSharks Intl. has licensed Rafael Ribas’ toon pic “Lino 3D,” a comedy-adventure from Brazil’s Start Anima and Fox Intl. Prods., to Dark Side Distribution in Mexico, where the film will open on a large 450-screen spread.

The deal is a key one: Mexico is traditionally the third-biggest market in the world for theatrical animation, trailing the U.S. and China, according to a European Audiovisual Report.

“Lino 3D” has clinched multiple other new deals, with Smart Media acquiring all rights to German-speaking Europe, while Paycom Media has picked up Spanish distribution rights. It plans a first quarter 2019 theatrical release in Spain, said FilmSharks Intl.’s Guido Rud.

FilmSharks has also closed Argentina (BF Paris) and Central America (Vista Entertainment). The licensing pacts add to announced deals for Italy (Sony), France (ProgramStore), Russia/CIS (Big Film) and South Korea (Hammer Pictures), of major territories sold. Deals mark part of the biggest sales rollout for any Brazilian film ever, with “Lino 3D” licensed to over 50 territories, Rud said.

Deals for the U.S. and China are now in very advanced discussions at the AFM, he added.

More mainstream than much Brazilian animation, “Lino 3D” has its charm, turning on an out-of-luck children’s party entertainer who performs in a tacky cat’s outfit. Yearning for a  change in life, he is transformed by an bumbling wizard into a man-sized cat – with his ghastly costume as its fur.

“Lino’s” success may have been goosed by one of Brazil’s biggest stars, actor-director Selton Mello, leading it voice cast. Also, animation has strong ancillary sales potential on pay TV and OTT platforms where it is seen as limiting churn.