ARC Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to hit Australian family adventure Red Dog.

Directed by Kriv Stenders and starring Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor and canine star Koko, the Woss Group production is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Louis de Bernières. It tells the real life-based story of a charismatic dog that roamed the Western Australian outback adopting people and uniting communities along the way.

The film took more than $21m in Australia last summer, making it the market’s eighth highest grossing local production ever. On DVD it became the market’s third biggest seller ever, after Avatar and Finding Nemo. It was named best film at the 2012 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.

Outside Australia the film has screened at festivals including Berlin, Beijing, Busan and Hawaii. It won the best narrative feature award at the 2011 Heartland Film Festival.

Red Dog is a special film,” said ARC Entertainment CEO Trevor Drinkwater. “We are looking forward to making it a success in the US off the heels of the impressive Australian release.”

The deal was negotiated by Rich Goldberg and Peter Jarowey of ARC Entertainment and ICM Partners, which also represents director Stenders.