Teen spies are 'Totally' big screen

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James Bond will get a run for his money when French production powerhouse Marathon Media and Studio 37, the film arm of Gallic telecom Orange, bring Beverly Hills teenagers-turned-secret agents "Totally Spies!" to the big screen.

The €8 million ($12 million) production based on the hit toon series is being targeted for a summer 2009 release in Gaul through Mars Distribution. The mix of traditional animation and 3-D, tentatively titled "Totally Spies! The Movie," already has been presold to Benelux (Films de l'Elysee), Italy (Mikado) and Eastern Europe (SPI).

Daniel Marquet's Groupe Un is handling international sales at the Cannes film market, where producers Marathon and Studio 37 hope to finalize their budget.

Based on the TV series about three average Beverly Hills teenage girls who accidentally become international secret agents, the film will explain what the series has yet to address, namely how the heroines became secret agents.

"It's 'Clueless' meets James Bond," Marathon Media CEO and GM David Michel said. "We didn't want to just make a long episode of the series. Our job is to make a good film for fans and also show parents they won't be bored."

"Totally Spies!" airs in more than 166 territories and is the top-rated TV toon in France on TF1. With five seasons and more than 130 episodes under its belt, "Spies!" ranks among the five highest-rated children's programs in the world.

The film is Marathon Media's first feature effort and Studio 37's second animated production after "Les Lascars," which hits Gallic screens in May 2009. (partialdiff)
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