GKIDS has acquired the North American rights to the next film from the makers of the Oscar-nominated French film A Cat in Paris. The indie animation distributor plans to push Phantom Boy into American theaters sometime in spring 2016.

GKIDS announced the Phantom Boy pick-up a few weeks ago at the Annecy festival, rounding out a busy event that also saw it announce acquisitions of the steampunk adventure April and the Extraordinary World and the Edgar Allen Poe compilation Extraordinary Tales.

Phantom Boy is the follow-up feature from the Oscar-nominated directors and writers Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, whose A Cat in Paris was an all-ages action-adventure film that managed to be both accessible and gripping. The new film, described as a “stylish animated noir,” treads similar territory, with a New York City boy named Leo with a mysterious illness who haunts the city as a ghostly apparition.

"Phantom Boy." (Click to enlarge.)
“Phantom Boy.” (Click to enlarge.)

Like its thrilling predecessor, this €5.5 million co-production between Folimage, Lunanime, France 3 Cinéma, and Rhône-Alpes Cinéma also involves the chase and capture of a villainous gangster, but one who has thrown New York City into chaos by hijacking its power supply. With the help of an injured cop, the spectral Leo sets about saving New York from its criminal element.

For some, it all may sound a bit too close to the premise and characters of A Cat in Paris. But in an entertainment world where animation is being exponentially franchised with multiple sequels and spin-ofs, Phantom Boy’s fantasy-noir follow-up makes sense — and manages to sound original, too. The film is scheduled to launch in France on October 14, 2015, and has been picked up for distribution in a number of other European countries as well as the Middle East.

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