'Madagascar 3' to Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival (Exclusive)

Madagascar 3 Snorkel Film Still - H 2012
Courtesy of DreamWorks

Madagascar 3 Snorkel Film Still - H 2012

The DreamWorks Animation toon's European setting makes it ready-made for a debut in the South of France and continues Jeffrey Katzenberg's longtime love affair with the premiere festival.

Summer toon Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted looks like it will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The Paramount and DreamWorks Animation film, which hits theaters June 8, is the first major studio title to surface in connection with Cannes, a popular place to launch summer tentpoles. So far, only the opening-night film has been officially announced, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which Focus Features is releasing in the U.S.

An official announcement about Madagascar 3 is expected in the coming days. Paramount and DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda made its world premiere at the festival in 2008.

Jeffrey Katzenberg has long been enamored with Cannes and often takes his films there for international junkets, even when they aren't officially playing in the festival. He's also famous for his elaborate promotional stunts along the Croisette.

On Wednesday in Los Angeles, DreamWorks Animation showed clips from its upcoming slate, including Madagascar 3, which is tailor-made for international audiences. The threequel finds the animals trying to get to New York from Africa, via Monte Carlo, London, Rome and the Swiss Alps.

The first clip shown Wednesday opened with the gang coming out of the sea and converging on Monte Carlo's famous casino. They are discovered in the middle of the casino, launching a panic and high-speed chase through the streets and air.

In addition to the return of Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer), moviegoers will be introduced to a new baddie, the ruthless police captain Dubois (Frances McDormand), along with the tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), the seal Stefano (Martin Short) and the tiger Gia (Jessica Chastain).

Combined, the first two Madagascar movies grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide. Madagascar 3 is the first to be shot and released in 3D.