'Planet' in Sony's galaxy


Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Groups has gone galactic.

The studio acquisitions arm has picked up U.S. distribution rights to the animated family film "Planet 51," scheduling it for a Nov. 20, 2009, release through its TriStar Pictures label.

Produced by HandMade Films International and Ilion Animation Studios Film, "Planet" is an alien adventure about an Earth astronaut (voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) who lands on Planet 51, thinking he's first to set foot on it only to discover "little green people" who live in a white picket-fence community reminiscent of 1950s America. Their only fear is being overrun by alien invaders like the astronaut.

Jessica Biel, Gary Oldman, Justin Long, John Cleese and Seann William Scott also have voice roles.

Jorge Blanco directed the CGI tale with co-directors Marcos Martinez and Javier Abad from a script by Joe Stillman ("Shrek," "Shrek 2").

Ilion's Ignacio Perez Dolset and HandMade's Guy Collins produced the film, with Peter D. Graves, Michael Ryan and Jose A. Rodriguez executive producing.

London-based HandMade will handle worldwide sales. (partialdiff)