Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the animated family film Blazing Samurai, a project being produced by The Lion King director Rob Minkoff, Yair Landau (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) and Susan Purcell. Strong names for the pic, which will be an interesting play: the distributor is calling it a family film “loosely based on the iconic 1974 film Blazing Saddles.”

The comedy centers on a scrappy young dog named Hank who fights to save the town of Kakamucho from becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord, transforming society and himself on his quest to become a true samurai. An April 14, 2017 release date has been set.

Open Road had solid success with its first animated pic, last year’s The Nut Job, which opened to the best number ever for an independent animated film ($25M) on its way to a gross $64.3M and spawning a sequel.

Chris Bailey (Alvin And The Chipmunks) and Mark Koetsier (Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon) are directing Blazing Samurai from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper.

GFM Films is handling international sales and providing production funding.