Warner Brothers has acquired US and key European rights to Japanese animation feature Yu-Gi-Oh!, which is based on the popular card trading game comic and TV cartoon series.

The TV Tokyo network, Shueisha publishing house and Asatsu DK advertising agency are jointly producing the feature animation.

Warner Brothers is set to release the film, titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, in North America this August. The studio has also taken rights to the film in countries such as the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, where it will also release the film in August. The Japanese release date, however, has not yet been decided.

The hero is Yugi, a boy who has become obsessed with a card game called Duel Monsters, in which opponents battle each other with cards representing monsters and containing magical spells. When his grandfather gives him a mysterious Egyptian puzzle, Yugi quickly solves it - and gains incredible powers. Soon after, he discovers that the story about Duel Monsters - that it is based on a 5,000-year-old Egyptian game, whose monsters were real - isn't just a story after all. He finds himself dueling for not just points, but his grandfather's life - and ultimately the fate of the world

The Yu-Gi-Oh! game and TV show have become huge hits with under-twelves in Japan and now in the United States. The three partners are hoping to duplicate the success of the Pokemon films.