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Berlinale: Lionsgate’s Grindstone Takes North America on ‘El Americano’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 2/11/2017 John Hopewell
© Provided by Variety

Demonstrating the attractiveness of Latino animation for big movie distributors, Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment Group has acquired all North American rights to the Edward James Olmos executive-produced toon feature “El Americano, the Movie 3D.”

Sold by FilmSharks Intl. and written by Richard Pursel (“Sponge Bob,” “Ren & Stimpy”) and veteran animator Phil Roman, it is voiced by Lisa Kudrow and directed by Mexico’s Ricardo Arnaiz, one of the leading names in Latin American animation. Pic also stars Olmos, Cheech Marin, Rico Rodriguez (“Modern Family”) and Kate del Castillo.

“El Americano” will be distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment across all media.

In a separate deal, Netflix has taken U.S. SVOD rights to the film, which is co-directed by Mike Kunkel, an animator on Disney’s “Tarzan.” In 2016, Sony Pictures Television acquired the film for Latin America in a multi-territory deal.

The story follows Cuco, a young Mexican parrot, who embarks on an epic quest to persuade an American crime-fighting TV celeb to defend his family from bullies.

The fourth feature and first CG movie from Puebla, Mexico’s Animex Studios, headed by Arnaiz, it comes as Latin America haltingly builds an animation industry.

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