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Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Early Man’ to Be Released by Lionsgate in North America

Variety logo Variety 5/25/2017 Dave McNary
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Lionsgate has acquired U.S. rights to Aardman Studios’ upcoming prehistoric comedy adventure “Early Man,” starring Eddie Redmayne.

Directed by Nick Park from a script by Mark Burton and John O’Farrell, the stop-motion movie is co-financed by the U.K.’s Aardman and France’s Studiocanal. It’s a re-team of the companies following 2015’s “Shaun the Sheep.” Lionsgate also handled the domestic distribution for “Shaun the Sheep.”

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer made the announcement during Thursday’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts. “Early Man” opens in the U.K. on Jan. 26 and in the U.S. on Feb. 16.

The film will be released by the Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label. Lionsgate will also represent licensing and merchandising for the film in the U.S.

Redmayne was the first cast member who boarded the toon, set at the dawn of time when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth. Tom Hiddleston is playing his adversary, Lord Nooth. Maisie Williams and Timothy Spall round out the cast.

The movie marks Park’s first feature film since 2005’s “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” which won the Academy Award for best animated film. Park also won three Oscars for his animated shorts “Creature Comforts,” “The Wrong Trousers,” and “A Close Shave.”

Studiocanal will distribute “Early Man” in the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

Lionsgate reported earnings on Thursday for its fourth quarter, which ended on March 31, that were above Wall Street expectations. Movie operations have been buoyed by its musical comedy-drama “La La Land,” which won six Academy Awards and grossed $443 million at the worldwide box office on a $30 million budget.

Motion picture segment revenues increased 7.3% to $654 million, driven by “La La Land,” “John Wick: Chapter 2,” and “The Shack.” Segment profit jumped to $52 million from $2.5 million as higher revenue more than offset operating expenses and marketing costs.

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