×

Studiocanal, Cottonwood’s ‘Around the World’: Offers from ‘All Over the World’ (EXCLUSIVE)

CANNES  — Produced by Cottonwood Media and Studiocanal, written by “Ice Age 2’s” Gerry Swallow, and directed by Academy Award nominated Samuel Tourneux (“Only Pidgeons Go To Heaven”), $25 million animated feature “Around the World” had sparked offers from “from all over the world” by Wednesday evening at Cannes, said Anne Cherel, Studiocanal head of international current movies sales.

Weighing offers, Studiocanal looks to close 70%-80% of major territories by the end of the market, she added.

That looks set to make “Around the World” one of this year’s Cannes Film Market hits.

Studiocanal will distribute “Around the World” directly in France. It will also release the film, based on Jules Vernes’  timeless literary classic, in its direct distribution territories of Germany, the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, unless it receives offers for the territories which it can’t refuse, Cherel said.

That may be possible. One of the biggest animated features to hit this year’s Cannes Film Market, “Around the World” is set up, in terms of animation  studios, at MacGuff Brussels, which worked on the original “Despicable Me” feature, and Studio Circus.

Via its upscale, robust-selling animated series, such as “Ollie & Moon,” sold to 150-plus territories, and renewed live action teen/tween hit “Find Me in Paris,” Paris-based Cottonwood, part of Federation Entertainment,  has quickly established itself as a market-attuned class-act among European family and kids companies.

“Around the World” follows Passepartout, a bookish marmoset with dreams of exploration. One day, he crosses paths with a greedy rash frog named Phileas, who brashly accepts a challenge to circumnavigate the planet in 80 days with a promised payout of 10 million clams should he succeed. Passpartout jumps on the opportunity to fulfill his wildest dreams and embarks on a wild adventure which, the synopsis says, is a crazy and exhilarating journey, full of twists and surprises.

Screened to distributors at Cannes, a one-scene promo suggests that “Around the World” will have wall-to-wall gags, often visual, playing off character foibles.

Phileas, a spindly legged frog and Passepartout are first seen exploring a tropical jungle. Passepartout worries they might be attacked by head-hunters who will kill them and put their heads on sticks.

“There are no head hunters,” retorts Phileas, just before a shower of arrows hit the rock behind them. Cut to the two dashing through the jungle and suddenly, in shades of “Papillon,” triggering a trap, which scooes them high in the sky in a net. Still trapped in the net, but now above a fire, Phileas looks around them. “I told you, there are no sticks,” he tell a n appalled Passepartout, his confidence still intact.

“Around the World” is a major project. It’s an independent movie but it’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ so it features many locations, lots of world building,” said Cottonwood Media’s David Michel, who produces with Cottonwood’s Zoe Z. Carrera and Cecile Lauritano.

“We really wanted to adapt ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ in a fresh new way,” he added.

“We have a very strong project here, without a doubt, plus we are quite well known for having some great family titles at Studiocanal,” Cherel said, citing the “Shaun the Sheep” franchise , Ben Stassen’s Nwave animated movies and the painterly Didier Brunner-produced “Ernest & Celestine.”

“Distributors all realize that there are not that many real big family animation films on the open market,” she added.

“Clients know that by buying early they will be with us on the journey towards the release well in advance, and with family films it’s vital for them to plant their flag, fix the dates, and work together on the marketing campaign rather than coming on at the last minute, especially when it’s an IP that is relatively well known,” added Anna Marsh, Studiocanal EVP, international distribution.

There have been many adaptations of “Around the World in 80 Days,” however, that so the key challenge here was finding something distinctive and new to set “Around the World” apart. One departure is humor, courtesy of Swallow. Tourneux is aiming to give an originality to the animation style, merging a base CGI with 2D visual effects.

“The adventure and the action are kind of built in to the story. But the original material was almost completely devoid of humor. It’s not a comedy and an essential element in these movies is that they have to be funny,” said Swallow.

He added: “I have a philosophy with these types of movies that you should always write for adults,” he went on. “Kids today are far more sophisticated, they’ve got YouTube, they’ve seen everything and they get things that we might think that they wouldn’t, but they do.”

“I want to have something new. Not to have the average realistic rendering, everybody can do that,” Tourneux explained at Cannes. “It’s a CGI movie so of course that leads the visual aspect. But we really want to mix that with some 2D visual effects, like water and smoke, so we have to defy how we are 3D CGI rendering.”

He went on to explain he is mixing “the steampunk Jules Verne universe with an animal world built for and by animals. Everything is made of wood, leaves, shells, little rocks and sand. But they’ve managed to make machines with that. We have boats and a house made of wood.”

More Film

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content