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20th Century Fox Animation is in final negotiations to acquire remake rights to the YA-friendly adventure documentary The Eagle Huntress.
The film, which is executive produced by Daisy Ridley, made a splash at Sundance, where it premiered in the festival’s new Sundance Kids section.
The move is unusual given that a rival studio — Sony — already acquired North American rights to the documentary via its Sony Pictures Classics label. That deal is pegged at around $2 million and also includes distribution rights for Latin America, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Scandinavia and Asia. But Fox saw the animation remake potential for the girl-empowerment tale and began negotiating separately.
Directed by Otto Bell, the film centers on a teenage girl named Ashol-Pan (Aisholpan Nurgaiv) living in the mountains of northwestern Mongolia who learns all aspects of falconry, from taming her very own eagle to training for an annual competition, where she competes against 70 eagle hunters on her quest to gain acceptance in a male-dominated field.
Fox Animation president Vanessa Morrison will oversee the project for the studio. Fox Animation’s most recent release was last year’s The Peanuts Movie. Next up is the fifth installment of the Ice Age mega-franchise, Ice Age: Collision Course, which will open July 22.
Eagle Huntress made its world premiere Jan. 24 and received a rousing response from buyers who were clamoring for dibs on the film, despite the fact that the film is in Kazakh with English subtitles. Ridley will narrate for English audiences.
Stacey Reiss and Sharon Chang produced, while Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, Susan MacLaury, Barbara Dobkin, Dan Cogan, Regina K. Scully and Marc H. Simon executive produced.
Nurgaiv, together with her father and mother, made the 6,000-mile journey from Mongolia to Park City to present the film and participate in deal-making, which moved quickly with Sony. The animation remake rights proved trickier and still are not finalized.
CAA repped the filmmakers.
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