HONG KONG – Jimmy Neutron director John A. Davis is to helm Smart, a major U.S.-Chinese co-produced animation, according to a report by Variety.
The film is to be a screwball, animated comedy about an emotional robot that forms an unlikely alliance with two abandoned pets to stop the plans of an evil toy manufacturer. The script is by S.D. Katz and David Freeman.
The project is structured as a co-production between Los Angeles-based Pelagius Entertainment and China’s Xing Xing Digital, with a production budget of $22 million. Pre-production began last month in L.A., with the majority of animation production to take place in Xing Xing’s studios in China. The finished film is to be released in 2016.
The two companies say that the Chinese theatrical market has now grown to the point where big-budget indie animated movies make economic sense.
Xing Xing has produced TV content including “Wild Animal Baby Explorers” and “The Secret Millionaires Club With Warren Buffet,” and is now aiming to deliver a slate of international family- friendly features. Pelagius has produced the Focus Features release Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and the PBS documentary Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene.
Smart is Davis’ first feature since the 2006 release of The Ant Bully.