Summit Entertainment has pacted with Alcon Entertainment, its partner on Insomnia and Affair Of The Necklace, to handle international rights on a major new family movie called Racing Stripes which Warner Bros plans to release domestically in the second half of 2004. Summit will pre-sell the film through IS Film Distribution, its new sales partnership with Intermedia.

Like Babe and Cats And Dogs, the film will feature a talking animal - in this case a zebra - using CGI and animatronics and will be directed by Frederick Du Chau who directed the 1998 2-D animated movie Quest For Camelot.

The screenplay, which Summit CEO Patrick Wachsberger says has been met warmly by buyers, tells the story of a zebra abandoned on a farm in Kentucky and follows his adventures to fullfill his ambition of becoming a champion racehorse. It was written by David Schmidt, Kirk De Micco and Mike Samonek. CGI effects will be supervised by Australian effects house Animal Logic, which has worked on the Matrix and Lord Of The Rings films.

Alcon, which is bankrolled by Federal Express chairman Frederick W Smith and run by Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, signed a three picture deal with Summit in 2001, furthering a relationship started on Affair Of The Necklace and Insomnia. Its other credits include Lost And Found and My Dog Skip.

"The response we've had from buyers is that it's charming, heartfelt and funny," Kosove told Screendaily. "This isn't a star-driven movie, it's a great concept, and family movies are very attractive on a worldwide basis."