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PR: Ilion and Handmade Films Take New Line to Another Planet

by on November 30, 2007

LOS ANGELES (November 26, 2007) New Line Cinema has marked its first venture into CG animation by acquiring Ilion Animation Studios’ $60 million feature Planet 51 from Handmade Films International.

Written by Oscar® nominee Joe Stillman (Shrek, Shrek 2), Planet 51 is currently in production and due for completion mid-March 2009. The film is produced by Ignacio Perez Dolset, directed by Jorge Blanco and co-directed by Javier Abad and Marcos Martinez who worked with Blanco on the worldwide best selling video game “Commandos.” Acclaimed casting agents Ruth Lambert and Robert McGee are working with the partners to secure A-list cast for the key roles.

The inhabitants of Planet 51 live in fear of alien invasion. Their paranoia is realised when astronaut Captain Charles “Chuck” Baker arrives from Earth. Befriended by a young resident, Chuck has to avoid capture in order to recover his spaceship and return home.

Following initial discussions between Handmade’s Guy Collins and New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO Bob Shaye in the Autumn, the deal was closed this week between Collins, Dolset and New Line’s Head of Business Affairs and Co-Production Carolyn Blackwood and Head of Acquisitions Guy Stodel. Planet 51 has already sold to more than 30 territories.

“New Line is one of the most successful marketing forces in the business and the perfect partner to board this blockbusting animation,” says Collins. “With Bob’s team on board we are looking to see Planet 51 as one of the top box office successes of 2009, combining massive merchandising potential with its unique concept to a global market.”

“We have made an enormous effort to create this truly amazing world of Planet 51 that will put Ilion Studios at the forefront of computer-generated animation. We are thrilled to be partnering with New Line, and with their talent and expertise are sure that Planet 51 will be a phenomenal success and a unique animation experience for cinemagoers world-wide,” adds Ignacio Perez Dolset, CEO Ilion Animation Studios.

The film will offer a vast range of cross-promotional tie-in opportunities for brands and licensors supported by a sizable P&A commitment. A video game is already in production at Pyro Studios and will roll out across the five leading console platforms, and world-leading mobile phone marketing and development player Zed Group will reach more than 35 million customers in more than 30 countries.

Ilion Animation Studios set up a purpose-build studio five years ago to start work on Planet 51, where it developed cutting edge technology in-house. With the skills of highly talented programmers, artists and designers at the forefront of the animation sector, Ilion is rapidly becoming recognized as a leader in the advances of animated feature film production.

About New Line Cinema Corporation:
Celebrating its 40th anniversary year, New Line Cinema is the most successful independent film company in the world. Its mission is to produce innovative, popular and profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. In addition to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures, the fully-integrated studio has divisions devoted to home entertainment, television, music, theater, merchandising and an international unit. In 2005, New Line partnered with HBO to form Picturehouse, a new theatrical distribution company to release independent films. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Line’s Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film franchises in history. New Line is a division of Time Warner, Inc. (TWX).

About Ilion Animation Studios:
Ilion Animation Studios was founded in 2002 by the founders of Pyro Studios, one of the world’s leading video game developers, to create state-of-the-art computer animated movies for theatrical release around the world, using purpose-build technology enabling it to compete on the highest level with other leading animation studios. Ilion is a subsidiary of Supreme Entertainment, one of the leading European entertainment conglomerates, devoted to the development of hi-tech videogames, animation, interactive and wireless entertainment. The founders of Supreme Entertainment are the owners of Zed Group, a multinational leader in the development and marketing of mobile phone content operating in more than 30 countries, with more than 1400 employees.

About Handmade Films International:
Handmade Films International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Handmade PLC, a UK public company listed on the AIM. Under the original ownership of George Harrison, Handmade was responsible for producing some of the great British films of the 70’s and 80’s: The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa and Time Bandits to name but a few. Handmade Films is responsible for the financing and distribution sales of its productions. The Handmade Group has offices in both London and Los Angeles.

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