Pathe is relocating Guillaume Canet’s live-action movie “Asterix & Obelix” to France, instead of China where it was initially planned to shoot last year, and couldn’t do so due to the pandemic. Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined the cast.

Now titled “Asterix & Obelix, the Middle Kingdom,” the movie is budgeted at 60 million Euros and marks the next installment of the blockbuster French comic book franchise. The pic is being produced by the French banners Les Enfants Terribles and Tresor Films, with Pathe co-producing and handling French distribution rights and international sales.

Pathe has already enlisted a flurry of buyers, including Netflix for several undisclosed territories, Leonine in Germany, Unicorn for CSI and Baltics, Blitz for ex Yugoslavia, Kinoswiat for Poland, and Rosebud 21 for Greece. Pathe will distribute in France and Switzerland.

The shoot will start April 12 with a stellar cast. Alongside Ibrahimovic, the cast includes Marion Cotillard, who will play Cleopatra, Canet and Gilles Lellouche, who will play Asterix and Obelix, respectively, as well as Vincent Cassel, Jonathan Cohen and Ramzy Bedia, among others.

The movie’s new plot is under wraps. Philippe Mechelen and Julien Herve penned the original screenplay based on the comicbook collection created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, and published by Les Editions Albert-René. Canet also teamed with Mechelen and Herve on the movie’s dialogue and adaptation.

The “Asterix and Obelix” franchise has produced a number of hits in France. The installment directed by Alain Chabat in 2002, “Asterix and Obelix: Meet Cleopatra,” was the most successful so far. Pathé co-produced and handled all but one of the installments.

The movie will boast an original score by Matthieu Chedid, the popular French singer. It’s the highest-budgeted French-language movie in the pipeline for 2022.

Canet previously helmed some of France’s biggest B.O. hits in recent years. These include “Little White Lies,” the highest-grossing French film of 2010, and “Nous finirons ensemble,” which sold more than 2.6 million tickets earlier this year. Both movies also starred Lellouche.

Pictured: “Asterix and Obelix Take on Caesar.”