Oscar-winning producer Graham King has teamed up with blockbuster filmmaker Gore Verbinski, fresh off his Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy, to develop an untitled animated feature that he will direct with a view to creating a new box office franchise.

Both parties are eager to move ahead quickly on the big budget project and a domestic distribution deal is expected to be announced shortly.

Oscar-nominated writer John Logan, with whom King collaborated on Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, is in talks to write the screenplay based on an original idea from Verbinski's production company Blind Wink Productions and producer John B Carls.

Further details about the storyline were unavailable at time of writing. However, the creative team that Verbinski is assembling leaves the scope and ambition of the film in no doubt.

The director has brought in many of his below-the-line team from Pirates Of The Caribbean including visual effects specialist Mark McCreery and art department designer James Ward Byrkit, who joins the project as head of story and storyboard artist.

Verbinski cited animated films as a constant source of inspiration and said he was aiming to 'break free from the traditional mould and create a new style that is all our own.'

King, who took home last year's Best Picture Oscar for Scorsese's The Departed, called Verbinski 'one of the most imaginative, exciting film-makers around today.'

He added: 'One only has to look at the fantastic effects and visionary ideas in Pirates to know that Gore's first animated project will no doubt continue that trend.'

King's GK Films and Verbinski's Blind Wink Productions are producing the film with Verbinski, King and Carls as producers.

Carls served as executive producer on the Sony Pictures' animation Open Season and is producing Spike Jonze's upcoming Where The Wild Things Are, an adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children's classic that is now in post-production.

Verbinski, Logan and Carls are all represented by CAA. Verbinski is also handled by Warren Dern.