German toy manufacturer Playmobil is pushing full steam ahead with an animated feature based on the property, and Variety is reporting that the nascent project has appointed Frozen animator Lino Di Salvo at the helm.
Bearing the subtitle Robbers, Thieves & Rebels, news of the film first came to light last year, tethered with a production budget of $75 million. Di Salvo’s addition is the first tangible sign of progress in some time, however, and given that the animator has 17 years at Disney under his belt, today’s news represents a major coup for both Playmobil and its upcoming feature.
Parisian production company ON Animation Studios (The Little Prince) have lent its support to the project, with Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache producing on behalf of the banner. Wild Bunch and Pathe, meanwhile, will take point for international sales and distribution. Now that the film is beginning to take shape, here’s an official statement from DiSalvo.
“I’ve learned most of my skills by growing up in the Disney system; I was very fortunate to work on films like ‘Tangled’ and ‘Frozen,’” said Lino Di Salvo. “I am thrilled at the perspective of developing the Playmobil film. As a father and a filmmaker, to create a film about your son’s favorite toy, what else do you want?”
Hans Beck’s iconic toy line made its debut back in 1974, and since then has become a cornerstone of the industry with over 2.7 billion figurines sold. Of course, the LEGO franchise has a tight rein on the lion’s share, but news that Playmobil‘s feature film is gaining momentum is a sign that the brand could on the verge of regaining some of that mind share.
It’s still early days for the feature, with the production company aligning Playmobil for release in late 2018.