Spanish distributor On Pictures is about to embark on its first feature film production with a live action adaptation of popular comic strip Mortadelo & Filemon.

The comic was already adapted for the big screen in 2003 by Sogecine and Peliculas Pendelton with fantastic results, earning more than $28.9m (Euros 22m) at the local box office to become Spain 's top-grossing local film that year.

The new version by On Pictures will be directed by Miguel Bardem (Swindled) based on a script by Carlos Martin, Juan V. Pozuelo and Bardem. Shooting will start April 23 in Madrid and will last for 12 weeks.

On Pictures will release the film in 2008 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first publication of the comic, created by Francisco Ibanez. On Pictures backer Grupo Zeta signed the option on the rights last Monday with Ibanez and Zeta-backed publisher Ediciones B.

On Pictures was launched in 2004 with the dual objective of distributing and producing films. It was the sixth top-grossing local distributor in Spain last year, and has handled titles such as Woody Allen's Match Point and Scoop. The company will release local director Antonio Cuadri's English-language The Heart Of The Earth, starring Sienna Guillory and Catelina Sandino Moreno, on April 13.