No, this is not a Cannes 2016 update, but it’s still a major development on a project that we’ve been hearing about since 2014.
Revealed via a press release, Open Road Films picked up the US distribution rights to Playmobil, the animated film adaptation of the German toy line of the same name. The film is currently penciled in for a US release on January 19, 2019. No other film carries that release date (for now).
The film will mark the directorial debut of Lino DiSalvo, following his 17 years at Walt Disney Animation Studios where he was famously known for being the Head of Animation on Frozen. He will direct from a screenplay by fellow Disney veteran Blaise Hemingway.
Developed in cooperation with Pathé France, the film is being produced by The Little Prince team of Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam, and Alexis Vonarb along with Axel Von Maydell and Moritz Borman. Lionsgate and Wild Bunch will handle international sales.
Playmobil will be one of the first major projects to arise out of the post-LEGO Movie wave of animated films with similar concepts. It certainly helps that Playmobil is one of the world’s most recognized toy brands, with 2.9 billion figure produced in over a 100 countries.
“The creative team behind PLAYMOBIL has crafted a wildly inventive, hilarious and heart-warming story that is certain to be exciting for the whole family,” Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said. “We are thrilled to get to work – or should I say ‘play’? – with Lino and his team.”
“PLAYMOBIL has conquered children’s hearts worldwide, growing beyond cultural and language barriers,” stated producer Moritz Borman. “Animation is the perfect medium to pay tribute to this cult toy and we’re very excited to launch this franchise with Open Road.”
Producers Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam and Alexis Vonarb also added: “Lino is a uniquely talented director and a wonderful storyteller. He has gathered an all-star team of artists for this project, bringing his experience from Disney and his love for PLAYMOBIL. This is an incredibly exciting time for our studio and we are looking forward to working with Tom Ortenberg and his team on the film.”
“PLAYMOBIL is such a special toy – the epic sets and cool little characters with endless story telling possibilities. It’s a wonderful place for an animated world,” said director Lino DiSalvo.
All of the comments above appear to indicate that everyone involved believes in the potential of Playmobil as a franchise. Two thousand nineteen is a long way away, and the LCU (LEGO Cinematic Universe) will have arrived at its fifth film by then. But if they are right and Playmobil has the potential to be a franchise on the same level, then there’s a chance that it may actually work as such.
What do you think? Are you still looking forward to the Playmobil movie?
(Additional info from Deadline.)
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes