BREAKING: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to The Nut Job, a 3D animated family film. The distributor has set a January 17, 2014 opening date. The film features the voices of Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Stephen Lang, Sarah Gadon and Jeff Dunham. It’s a comedy focusing on a squirrel and his rat friend as they plan a nut store heist.
The film is directed by Peter Lepeniotis and scripted by Lorne Cameron and Lepeniotis, and based on the latter’s 2005 short film Surly Squirrel. It’s produced by Graham Moloy and WK Jung and the exec producers are Mike Karz and Bill Bindley of Gulfstream Pictures, Jay Ahn, Daniel Woo, Hong Kim and Tom Yoon, in a co-production between ToonBox Entertainment, Redrover Co, Ltd. and Gulfstream Pictures. The distribution deal was made between Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg and Redrover president Hoe-jin Ha. Ortenberg called it “a smart, fresh and funny movie that family members of all ages will certainly enjoy.”
Here’s a look at Lepeniotis’ original short Surly Squirrel that got this whole thing started: