'Sprung' finds a home

Category: Dear Frankie News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 17, 2004 | Publication: Variety | Author:
Ian Mohr, STAFF
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NEW YORK -- Miramax has sealed a pact with Pathe Pictures Intl. to acquire distribution rights to animated feature "Sprung! The Magic Roundabout" for North and South America.

In post-production and set to be completed in January, "Sprung" is based on the vintage U.K. puppet TV series of the same name.

The fantasy follows four unlikely heroes who must step forward to recover three magic diamonds, reverse the onset of a brutal winter and return the evil ice sorcerer Zeebad to his prison beneath the ground.

Pic features voices of a bevy of U.K. film and music stars, including Tom Baker, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen, Robbie Williams (news) and Ray Winstone, as well as Aussie Kylie Minogue (news).

Pathe is rolling out the film in France and the U.K. in February.

"Sprung" is being co-produced by France's Films Action and the U.K.'s Bolex Bros./SPZ. Jean Duval, Frank Passingham and Dave Borthwick are helming the feature.

Pact caps a spate of recent deals between Miramax and Pathe, including pickups of Gurinder Chadha's "Bride and Prejudice" and Shona Auerbach's "Dear Frankie." Move comes as Miramax has tapped into fresh funds from parent Walt Disney Co. this month, when the unit began its new fiscal year.

Miramax co-topper Harvey Weinstein was closely involved with bringing the animated feature into the mini-major's fold, having personally met with "Sprung's" animators, and worked closely with his acquisitions and co-productions head Agnes Mentre and U.K.-based exec VP Maeva Gatineau.

Pascal and Laurent Rodon produced the film; exec producers are Jake Eberts, Ivernel, Cameron McCracken and Jill Sinclair. Raolf Sanoussi, Stephane Sanoussi and Paul Bassett Davies penned the script, with additional dialogue by Ted Safran.

The acquisition was brokered by Mentre and David Miercort, Miramax senior veep of acquisitions and business affairs. Cameron McCracken, deputy managing director of Pathe Pictures, and attorney Robert Darwell, negotiated on behalf of the film.

Miramax's previously animated release fare includes the Japanese import "Princess Mononoke."