Verbinski, King & Logan Team on Animated Feature

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Gore Verbinski and Graham King are collaborating for the first time to develop and produce a big budget animated tale designed with franchise potential. Currently untitled, the Academy Award nominee John Logan is in discussions to write the script for the feature, which Verbinski is currently working on, based on an idea developed by Verbinski’s production company, Blind Wink Productions and producer John B Carls.

“I have always been inspired by animation as an art form. I think this is a tremendous opportunity to move the medium forward and continue to engage, challenge and entertain the audience. We have a unique team of virtuosos coming together and I truly believe that we can break free from the traditional mold, and create a new style that is all our own,” said Verbinski.

King said, “As one of the most imaginative, exciting filmmakers around today, whenever Gore turns his attention to a new project, he raises the bar in creative excellence. One only has to look at the fantastic effects and visionary ideas in ‘Pirates’ to know that Gore’s first animated project will no doubt continue that trend. As you can imagine, to be partnering with Gore on producing this project as well as working with John again is particularly exciting for me.”

Verbinski’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise has given Disney a record breaking box office haul totaling $2.7 billion with the second film in the series, “Dead Man’s Chest,” breaking the $1 billion worldwide box office mark — one of only three films to have achieved such a coveted result. The first film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was nominated for five Academy Awards and earned a box office haul of over $650 million in 2003. Apart from the huge box office results, “Dead Man’s Chest” went on to break several other box office records including the highest ever opening weekend of all time and went on to win an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

The third installment of the Pirates trilogy, “At World’s End” achieved a worldwide box office of $961 million as well as another two Academy Award nominations. Before taking the helm of the “Pirates” trilogy, Verbinski directed the family comedy Mousehunt, the Brad Pitt starrer The Mexican and the box office hit The Ring. Verbinski’s directing credits also include the Nicolas Cage starrer The Weather Man for Paramount Pictures.

Academy Award nominated screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator) has emerged as one the industry’s leading film screenwriters over the last decade with credits that include the critically acclaimed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. His additional credits include Any Given Sunday, RKO 281 and The Last Samurai.

Verbinski is already bringing together an experienced group of below the line specialists to map out the design for the film, many of whom worked with him on creation of the storyboards, creatures and effects for his “Pirates” franchise. These include Visual Effects specialist Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery who specializes in creature and character design with credits such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Van Helsing, The Village, Hulk and The Time Machine.

Also on board is James Ward Byrkit who joins the creative team as Head of Story and Storyboard Artist. Byrkit has worked with Verbinski as art department designer on all three “Pirate” titles as well as Verbinski’s Mousehunt.

GK Films and Blind Wink Productions are producing the film with Verbinski, King and Carls as producers.

Carls’ recent credits include executive producer of Sony Pictures’ Open Season, and producer of Spike Jonze’s upcoming Where the Wild Things Are set to be released through Warner Bros. Pictures in 2008. Tim Headington is Executive Producer with David Shannon also attached to the project as co-producer and on board as conceptual artist.

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