Ninja Turtles Find Distributors With Weinstein/WB

The first CGI-animated TMNT movie set for release in early 2007.
According to Variety, the Weinstein Co. has joined with Warner Bros. to distribute the first completely CGI-animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

As-yet-untitled pic, set for release in early 2007, would return the franchise to the bigscreen for the first time since 1993. It continues the "Turtles" revival that began three years ago with the bow of a new TV strip.

"Reintroducing the Ninja Turtles in an animated movie will enable the filmmakers to fully realize the adventure and humor of the property," Weinstein said.

New CGI-animated movie will be grittier than its predecessors, taking its tone directly from the comicbook series. It will be aimed at PG audiences.

Animation vet Kevin Munroe will write and direct. Munroe is developing the screenplay in consultation with "Turtles" comicbook co-creator Peter Laird.

Weinstein Co. and Warners acquired the worldwide film distribution rights from Imagi Services. It obtained production and distribution rights from the Mirage Group, which owns and manages the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property.

CGI animation will be created in Imagi's facility in Hong Kong.

Imagi USA prexy-CEO Tom Gray, who produced two of the earlier "Turtles" films, and Galen Walker are producing. Francis Kao, Laird, Gary Richardson and Frederick Fierst are exec producers.

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