Bad Bunny, Will Ferrell’s ‘Dropz’ in the new Paramount Animation lineup

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As the Annecy Animation Festival kicks off, Ramsey Naito, president of Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, has unveiled the development of a slate of original films – including the Bad Bunny and Will Ferrell-produced film “Dropz” and a “Swan Lake” adaptation – which sit alongside franchises such as Transformers, Smurfs and SpongeBob.

Naito describes “Dropz” as “our ET about real kids in a super extraordinary situation.” Producers Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum and David Koplan are teaming up with Bad Bunny, who is on board as executive producer. Rob Letterman directs and co-writes the script with Ike Holter. Naito adds that the story is “infused with fashion” and will be a “cultural statement” for children and families.

‘Muttnik’ is a sci-fi comedy about a sweet puppy turned ‘Han Solo-esque space bandit’ who is forced to return to the family on Earth who abandoned him. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Zareh Nalbandian produce. Mike LeSieur, Chris Yost and Michael McCullers are writing the script; a director has not yet been appointed.

Another newly revealed project is “Once Upon a Motorcycle Dude,” which Naito describes as a “fairy tale disrupter” in which a badass princess teams up with a post-apocalyptic biker dude to save their kingdom. Karen Rosenfeld produces.

The studio is also developing “Swan Lake,” a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale of the same name, written by Kourtney Kang (“How I Met Your Mother”) and produced by Temple Hill.

Finally, Naito revealed the development of “Yoke Samba,” which she called “our ‘The Last Starfighter’ and a destination film for Brazil.” On board to direct is Leo Matsuda, a Disney Animation alum whose credits as a story artist include “Wreck-It Ralph” and who directed the 2016 short film “Inner Workings.” Mitch Watson (“Big Nate”) will write and Stacey Lubliner will produce.

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Previously announced projects in development include “Real Pigeons Fight Crime,” based on the comic book series written by Andrew McDonald and illustrated by Ben Wood; and “Superworld,” based on the book series by Yarrow Cheney and Carrie Cheney (Yarrow Cheney will direct from a script the pair will write.)

Naito says: “We have produced an incredible series of franchise titles, and that has also allowed us to develop an original series that is truly exciting.”

Tonight in Annecy, Paramount Animation will preview a work in progress of the upcoming “Transformers One,” which Naito says is a stylized origin story set on Cybertron and about how Optimus Prime (voiced by Chris Hemsworth) and Megatron ( Brian Tyree Henry) went from friends to enemies. The film is directed by Josh Cooley, an Oscar winner for “Toy Story 4,” who is in Annecy this week. “Transformers One” is scheduled for release on September 20 in the US

Scheduled for a Feb. 14 opening, “The Smurfs Movie” marks the return of the Smurfs franchise and aims to answer a big question: What is a Smurf? Naito says the filmmakers also want to embrace the roots of Peyo’s Belgian comics and “interpret that world in 3D in a way that pays tribute to him.”

Naito says of the strategy: “We want to make films that reach children and families around the world, that are truly relatable, that feel broad and diverse.”

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