Warner Bros, the UK's FilmFour and Germany's Senator have partnered on Death To Smoochy, a Robin Williams and Ed Norton comedy directed by Danny DeVito.
The project, currently in pre-production, marks the next in the long-term production partnership that FilmFour and Warner announced last Cannes. It reverses the relationship on the partners' first project, upcoming period production Charlotte Gray, where Warner boarded a FilmFour title.
FilmFour is taking the UK on Smoochy, while Senator, which has a long-term distribution pact with the UK mini-studio, is handling Germany. Warner has the rest of the world on the project, which revolves around two rival children's show presenters and a pink rhino called Smoochy.
FilmFour's risk on Smoochy is less than on Charlotte Gray, where the UK operation has the whole of international rather than just local rights. But Smoochy is expected to be one the biggest projects to date FilmFour has boarded, if not the largest. Under chief executive Paul Webster, FilmFour has long aimed to augment its line-up of traditionally low-budget UK fare with larger-scale, often US projects.
According to local press reports, FilmFour and Warner are also eyeing Cracker as a vehicle for UK comedian Lee Evans. The project is about a clumsy escapologist.