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Feature Film

Open Road Films Picks Up Chinese Feature ‘Duck Duck Goose’ For U.S. Distribution

Open Road Films, the distributor of The Nut Job series and Spark: A Space Tail, has acquired U.S. rights to the China/U.S. co-production Duck Duck Goose.

Open Road will release the cgi family comedy on April 20, 2018. It marks the first film produced and financed by Original Force, a Chinese company founded by Harley Zhao in 1999 that up until now has been known mostly for its in-game animation and effects on titles like Grand Theft Auto V, Need for Speed: The Run, League of Legends, and The Sims 3. The studio also has experience doing service work on animated series (Dragons: Riders of Berk) and features (Ratchet & Clank).

The studio, which has nearly 1,000 employees across its Beijing, Nanjing, and Chengdu offices, opened a small Los Angeles facility in 2015 when it decided to enter feature animation.

Chris Jenkins, a veteran effects animator who worked for years on Disney features and more recently shifted to producing (Dreamworks’ Home, Sony’s Surf’s Up), is making his feature directorial debut on Duck Duck Goose. Jenkins co-write the film with Rob Muir. Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins are producers.

The film follows the adventures of a “high-flying bachelor goose” named Peng (voiced by Jim Gaffigan) who finds himself in charge of two ducklings (voiced by Zendaya and Lance Lim), who he must take on a long journey south.

Other voices are provided by Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Reggie Watts, Diedrich Bader, Jennifer Grey, Rick Overton, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Fry, and Carl Reiner.

“We are thrilled to be in business with Harley Zhao and the team at Original Force,” said Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films. “Sandy and Penney are legends in animation having launched Sony Pictures Animation and Dreamworks Animation, and their impressive track record developing and producing commercial and critical hits in this space speaks for itself. In addition to being a wholly original story filled with lovably funny and relatable characters that the entire family will enjoy, the animation in Duck Duck Goose is truly superb and the project is a welcome addition to our 2018 slate.”

Duck Duck Goose has been an amazing international collaboration from start to finish and we could not be more proud of the artistry, storytelling, and the dazzling animation accomplished by the team at Original Force Animation,” said Finkelman Cox and Rabins. “Everyone from China to Culver City is delivering a visually stunning and enchanting film that all audiences will fall in love with all over the world.”

"Duck Duck Goose" poster
  • Cameron Ward

    Not that promising. I like some of the actors in the cast, but I feel like they could be doing better work somewhere else. Open Road Films has not been that great with its feature animation distribution and seems to be going the route of Lionsgate where they will pick up quantity over quality. They might not be at the Lionsgate level of schlock, but they will be soon with films like this.

    I’ll reserve more judgement until I see a trailer, but it’s not a good first impression.

  • Marc Hendry

    Looks like really typical stuff. Which is fine, and there’s a place for that, but I doubt there will be anything about it that makes it worth watching

    • GW

      Imagine what it would be like if animation like this was consistently well done. For this particular example, no stretch/scrunch face, a better choice of character eyeballs and so on. We could very easily have a different problem where there’s no shortage of choice between well done generic productions. To be more specific, ones where it’s simply an adequate exploration of the story but doesn’t have any particularly unique ideas to offer. I don’t mean ones with the same overused outsider with a big imagination saves his community shtick. It’s not necessarily far away. Even Care Bears and Barbie cartoons are looking better than they ever have before. I suspect that as we learn more about human psychology, we’ll be surrounded by images that are designed to please us perfectly and we’ll relish the time when we didn’t know how to manipulate ourselves as well.

  • RCooke

    “legends in animation”

    Hmmm….that could go either way.

  • Based on the poster, the animation does not look too bad, but I’m not excited.

  • ConfusedinLA

    Is it just me or is that goose pretty much identical to Kristof Serrand’s Boris the goose from Balto? I seem to remember that exact pose and expression on a model sheet I once had…