Paramount Plots Next Animated Pic with Alien Comic Adaptation 'New Kid' (Exclusive)

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The studio has picked up rights and tapped "Book of Eli" writer Gary Whitta to pen the script.

After tasting success of its first non-DreamWorks Animation-produced animated film Rango, Paramount is jumping into the medium again with New Kid.

The project is an adaptation of an online comic from Penny Arcade. The studio has picked up rights and tapped Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta to pen the script. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are producing via their studio-based Disruption Entertainment.

The premise spins the feeling of being a new kid in school into an intergalactic story when the kid happens to be the lone earthling in a school chock full of aliens.

Penny Arcade, created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, is one of the few viable webcomic sites that has grown into its own little fiefdom, with a blog, video games, podcasts and an online TV show.

Part of the impetus for New Kid is that Paramount is coming to the end of its current DWA distribution deal. Insiders say the studio is looking for a well of animated fare to potentiall fill that part of its pipepline if a new DWA pact can't be worked out. While there isn’t likely to be a Pixar-like animated division at Paramount any time soon, the studio knows it needs to be in that lucrative game, with or without Jeffrey Katzenberg. Rango, released in March, grossed more than $240 million worldwide.

Whitta is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.