Chris Bailey (left) and Mark Koetsier will co-direct "Blazing Samurai."
Chris Bailey (left) and Mark Koetsier will co-direct “Blazing Samurai.”

Open Road Films, the distributor of The Nut Job, has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the CG animated feature Blazing Samurai, which will be “loosely based” on Mel Brooks’s 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles. The film is slated for April 14, 2017 launch.


In this version, a dog named Hank travels to a small town in ancient Japan to fulfill his dream of becoming a samurai. He discovers the town is populated entirely by cats, and must overcome prejudice while learning how to be a great warrior from a once-great samurai cat named Jimbo. Chris Bailey, who directed the Disney short Runaway Brain and animation directed Alvin And The Chipmunks, and veteran animator/story artist Mark Koetsier will co-direct from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper.

Blazing Samurai will be the first feature produced through Yair Landau’s Mass Animation, a company that uses a crowdsourcing model to produce its projects. Landau, a former Sony Pictures exec, will produce the film with Mass Animation’s Susan Purcell and The Lion King director Rob Minkoff.