EXCLUSIVE: French sales-distribution-production house Wild Bunch is officially launching the ambitious $80 million animated Playmobil project at Toronto and is in advanced negotiations with a U.S. studio to guarantee wide domestic distribution. The film, which is being produced by Dimitri Rassam and Anton Soumache’s On Entertainment, is based on the popular kids’ toy line. The brand recently enjoyed its most successful new product ever with the introduction of a Martin Luther figurine. The first edition of 34,000 pieces sold out in less than 72 hours, with 95% of those sales accounted for in Germany alone.

Bob Persichetti, who worked on both Puss In Boots and Shrek 2, will direct. He will be in Toronto to make a presentation to buyers, who will also receive a long treatment of the expected storyline. Clay Senechal is writing with Perscihetti. He is repped by Echo Lake and Kaplan Stahler Agency.

The Playmobil film will reunite many of the creative team who worked together on Le Petit Prince, which world premiered in Cannes this year. The production will once again be set up at ON Entertainment’s animation division Montreal division. The company will follow the same pre-sales and equity model plumbed for Le Petit Prince, backed up by the guarantee a wide studio release. Le Petit Prince is being released domestically by Paramount. There is not a confirmed release date yet although the studio did also release in France this summer, posting good returns of more than 1.5 million admissions. The buyers of Le Petit Prince will have priority on the Playmobil project.

The Playmobil feature – which no doubt will hope to replicate some of The Lego Movie‘s box office gold dust- is being produced by Dimitri Rassam, Soumache, Alexis Vonarb and Moritz Borman. Axel von Maydell’s Morgen Studios is co-producing.

Since its creation by Hans Beck in 1975, Playmobil has sold over 2.7 billion units. It retails in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The film is set to be delivered by the end of 2017.