After an aggressive bidding war with multiple major studios, North American rights for Channing Tatum’s film “Dog” have sold to MGM.

Tatum will star in and co-direct “Dog” with his longtime creative partner Reid Carolin. Carolin also wrote the script, based upon a story by Carolin and Brett Rodriguez.

The film is a road-trip comedy that tracks two hard-charging former Army Rangers paired against their will — Briggs (Tatum), and a Belgian Malinois named Lulu — as they race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, confront the possibility that pet psychics are real, and begin to reckon with the one thing they were trained never to do: surrender.

Sale of its domestic rights comes following the film selling on international territories at AFM, where Tatum and Carolin delivered their presentation to a packed room of distributors. FilmNation represented the international rights, with CAA and CAA Media Finance Group brokering the domestic license to MGM.

Gregory Jacobs will produce along with Peter Kiernan and Rodriguez for Free Association. Exec producers are Ken Meyer and Betsy Danbury. The film will begin production this May.

This deal marks the first big acquisition by Michael De Luca in his new role as MGM’s Motion Picture Group chairman. Cassidy Lange will oversee for the studio.

“Having known and admired Reid and Chan for years as great guys and natural born storytellers, I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to work with them, Greg Jacobs and Glen Basner on this, their first film as directors,” De Luca said. “The story’s strong heart, humor and power reflect not only their talent but their humanity, and all of us at MGM hope this is the first of many.”

The film will be released in the U.S. on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2021 via MGM’s joint distribution and marketing entity United Artists Releasing. Tatum’s films have dominated that weekend twice before, with “The Vow” debuting at No. 1 with $41 million and “Dear John” launching in first place with $30 million.

“‘Dog’ is a story that’s been growing in our lives for years, so we’re deeply honored that Mike Deluca and MGM have chosen to help us bring it to life, and to support our first film as directors. As long-time admirers of Mike’s taste and creative instincts, we couldn’t be more excited to join forces with him and the entire team at MGM to share DOG with audiences everywhere,” said Carolin and Tatum.

Tatum, Carolin and Free Association are repped by CAA, Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman and Relevant.