Nickelodeon Movies, Lawrence Bender to bring 'The Five Ancestors' book series to the big screen

MUMBAI:Nickelodeon Movies have signed a two-picture deal with producers Lawrence Bender and Karen Barber to bring Random Houses The Five Ancestors book series to the big screen.

The announcement was made by Nickelodeon Movies senior vice president Julia Pistor.

"This important alliance with Lawrence re-emphasises Nick Movies' commitment to deliver groundbreaking, edgy fare into the family marketplace and we are extremely pleased about this collaboration," said Pistor.

Following in the Nick Movies tradition of finding great stories in children's literature, The Five Ancestors, will be adapted from Jeff Stone's seven book series from Random House, the first two of which, Tiger and Monkey were released last year. Random House picked up the book series in a heated auction from first-time author Stone. The third book in the series, Snake will be released in March.

"I have wanted to break into the family genre for a long time now, and what better way than partnering with Nick Movies. It was Karen Barber's mandate to bring in this type of material and she hit a home run with these projects," said Bender.

The Five Ancestors book series are set in 17th century China and follow the adventures of five young monks, each of whom specialise in a different style of "animal" kung fu which reflect their individual personalities. After a renegade brother monk leads a brutal attack on their secret Shaolin temple, the young monks are forced to flee and must rely on their training and instincts to survive and uncover the mysteries of the past.

Random House is putting their significant marketing muscle behind the books, and the series has sold in a number of foreign markets including the UK, Japan, Denmark, Spain, France and Germany.

Nick Movies, the feature film development and production division of Nickelodeon, produces kid and family friendly movies in association with its sister companies Viacom and Paramount Pictures.

As part of the deal, Bender and Barber will also produce the CGI feature Holy Cow, a tale of a young bull from Montana named Bamboo who befriends a caterpillar that tells him of a place called India, where cows are sacred, free and holy. The two embark on an epic journey as they cross the globe and outwit the chickens who desperately try to stop them. The film is based on a spec script by Ted Grennan and Peter Kalmbach.

For Bender, who is best known for producing groundbreaking fare from director Quentin Tarantino, the deal marks a broadening into the ever-expanding and lucrative family marketplace.

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