Animated feature Animal Crackers has added some heavyweights to its voice cast. Sir Ian McKellen, Danny DeVito, and Sylvester Stallone will lend their voices to the Blue Dream Studios film about a family whose life is turned upside down when they inherit a rundown circus and a mysterious box of Animal Crackers that turn the person who eats them into the animal they’ve just snacked on. Patrick Warburton, Gilbert Gottfried, Raven-Symoné, Harvey Fierstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tara Strong, and newcomer Lydia Taylor round out the line-up for co-directors Scott Christian Sava and Tony Bancroft. Sava and Dean Lorey are co-writers; Sava is also producing with George Lee and Marcus Englefield from Storyoscopic Films, Jamie Thomason, and Leiming Guan. Odins Eye Entertainment is repping international sales.
Chile-set actioner Redeemer has been picked up for North America by MPI Media Group, which has set a summer theatrical bow through genre arm Dark Sky Films. Chilean action star Marko Zaror stars in the Spanish language pic about an ex-hitman honoring his deal with God to hunt down the men he used to work for. Ernesto Díaz Espinoza directed the film, his latest with Zaror after Killtro and Mirageman, and Moral Bros. Entertainment produced. Pic is exec produced by XYZ Films, who’s also repping foreign sales at AFM. MPI’s Greg Newman negotiated the deal with Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films.
Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Stephen Amell (Arrow), and Elijah Kelly (Hairspray) are in talks to star in Whatever Makes You Happy, the directorial debut of Emmy-winning writer-producer Cindy Chupack (Sex And The City, Modern Family). Pic is adapted from the novel by William Sutcliffe about two suburban mothers who decide to visit their 28 year-old sons in NYC; Chupack scripted based on an early draft by Mark Andrus (As Good As It Gets). Cathy Schulman is producing for Mandalay Pictures, while Prescience is financing. The Devil Wears Prada‘s David Frankel is executive producing alongside Matt Rhodes and Jason Michael Berman; Radiant Films International is selling international rights at AFM.
Beta Cinema has nabbed worldwide rights to Colonia, the 1970s Chile-set suspense thriller starring Harry Potter‘s Emma Watson opposite Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglourious Basterds), and Mikael Nyqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, John Wick). Watson stars as Lena, whose husband Daniel (Brühl) is abducted by Pinochet’s forces during the Chilean military coup. She tracks him to a sealed off area called Colonia Dignidad and there joins a cult masquerading as a charitable mission run by a preacher Paul Schäfer (Nyqvist) in order to find Daniel. Florian Gallenberger (John Rabe) is directing from his own script with Torsten Wenzel, based on true events. Filming is underway in Germany with Oscar-nominated Benjamin Herrman producing. UTA is co-repping domestic. Beta Cinema will be showing footage to buyers at AFM.
Shout! Factory has acquired North American rights to Over Your Dead Body, the new ghost tale from Japanese auteir Takashi Miike that debuted at Toronto. Story is set within the walls of a theater troupe rehearsing a 200-year-old play about murder, betrayal, and phantasmagorical vengeance, where life starts imitating art. Mongrel International and Celluloid Dreams made the deal, which covers multiplatform, broadcast, and theatrical rights. Shout! will release Over Your Dead Body in 2015. It screens this weekend at AFI Fest in LA.
Shanghai New Culture Media Group has come aboard to co-finance Skiptrace, the action comedy starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville that Renny Harlin is directing. China-set pic follows Hong Kong detective Bennie Black (Chan), who enlists a fast-talking American (Knoxville) to help save his niece from gangsters. SNC joins Talent International and Dasym Media as financer and will distribute outside of China excepting North America, which it’s selling off its rights to. Talent International, Dasym Media, Jackie Chan, Esmond Ren, Charlie Coker, Damien Saccani and David Gerson are producers on the Sino-US co-pro, which SNC’s ZhenhuaYang and Xiaolin Liu will executive produce. Qun Gao of SNC and Lifeng Wang of Xing Xing will serve as co-executive producers. Bloom is handling international sales at AFM.