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A new stop-motion feature film directed by Aardman’s Nick Park is in the works, it was confirmed today. Cartoon Brew was the first news media site to report about the film.

Aardman and Studiocanal formally announced that Early Man, with a script by Mark Burton and John O’Farrell, will be Park’s first feature film since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

It is the second film to be produced by Studiocanal and Aardman after Shaun the Sheep Movie, co-written and co-directed by Burton, who was also a writer on DreamWorks’s Madagascar and Starz Animation’s Gnomeo & Juliet.

French producer Studiocanal has invested heavily in family films. With its release of Paddington, the company scored one of the biggest-ever box office grosses for a non-Hollywood family film. In addition to Early Man, the studio is developing Paddington 2 and the 3D CGI film Robinson Crusoe—Tuesdays’ Tale. They have budgeted Park’s Early Man at around US$50 million

There are some story details in the official presser:

“[T]his new film will take audiences into a dramatic prehistoric world and unleash an unforgettable cast of hilarious new characters … Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how one plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day!”

As Cartoon Brew reported earlier, the film’s backdrop will be soccer-themed; in fact, it’ll be the world’s first game of soccer. “The film is not about football but it is an important component,” Studiocanal chief exec Olivier Courson told Deadline.

“I’m very excited to be making this film with such great partners,” Park said. “ And with the support of the incredible team at Aardman, bringing this inept bunch of cavemen to life is going to be a hilarious adventure.”

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