Odin’s Eye Animation has picked up sales rights to “Shimmy: The First Monkey King,” an animated family entertainment film that is rare official China-U.S. coproduction. Sales activity will begin at the European Film Market starting next week alongside the Berlin Film Festival.

The story involves Shimmy, a cheeky monkey with newly discovered superhero-like powers who must learn how to control his extraordinary transformative abilities and prevent powerful demonic forces from sending the universe into chaos. 

The film is completed and previously envisaged a mid-2022 release, but those plans were derailed by China’s tough anti-COVID measures. Delivery is now scheduled for April 2023 with a major Imax and conventional theatrical release pencilled in for June.

It was jointly directed by Ralph Zondag (writer of “Pocahontas” writer-director of Disney’s “Dinosaur,” “We’re Back a Dinosaurs Story”) and Dick Zondag (animator of “Bolt,” director of “We’re Back a Dinosaurs Story”).

While co-ventures and co-productions between the world’s two largest film industries have dwindled in recent years, they have continued quietly in the animation sector at a greater pace than in live-action filmmaking. The film boasts production companies including Eastern International Pictures, Europe-China Pictures, Magic Pictures and Stone Monkey Productions. Producers are: Michelle Qi, Jason Zhu, and the Zondags. The deal was brokered by Andrew Fitzpatrick on behalf of Monster Entertainment.

“This incredible team have produced an animated feature that is epic in scale, but also wonderfully nuanced in character performance, humor and warmth, as well as being an action packed origin story,” said Michael Favelle of Odin’s Eye Animation.

“We were inspired by the fantastic ancient epic tale, ‘Journey to the West’ and did extensive research to capture all its unique well-rounded characters, spectacular realms and subtle nuances of self-discovery by applying a current perspective that makes it universally relatable for children and adults alike in a highly entertaining and incredibly fun way,” said Ralph and Dick Zondag in a prepared statement.

Odin’s Eye Animation is a sister company of Odin’s Eye Entertainment, a long-standing film and TV sales agency based in Australia. At the EFM, it is representing titles including “Ice Maiden” and upcoming Jonathan Auf Der Heide title “Devil Inside.”