Summit Entertainment has swooped on worldwide rights excluding Japan, Hong Kong and China to Imagi Entertainment's manga project Astro Boy.

Summit is expected to plan a 2009 release on the animated tale of a young robot who embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Warner Bros and The Weinstein Company previously held domestic rights.

Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and Eugene Levy provide the voice talent and Freddie Highmore portrays the title character.

David Bowers is directing from a screenplay by Timothy Harris. Maryann Garger serves as producer. Japanese manga guru Osamu Tezuka created the character in the early 1950s.

Summit's executive vice president of business affairs Andrew Matosich negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin on behalf of Imagi and Summit's senior vice president of production Geoff Shaevitz will oversee the project for the studio.

Summit's next North American release will be the 3D animated story Fly Me To The Moon on August 8.

Imagi Studios previously made the CG-animated feature TMNT, which opened in 2007 and grossed $95m worldwide and was handled in North America through Warner Bros and The Weinstein Company.