Doogal Makes U.S. Roundabout

A British animated feature gets Americanized in Doogal, the latest CG toon to be released theatrically by The Weinstein Co. After striking gold with the modestly budgeted Hoodwinked, the company is hoping Doogal meets with similar success as it rolls into theaters in North America today.

Doogal was released in Europe last year under the title Sprung: The Magic Roundabout. The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom creator Butch Hartman and the Hoodwinked team of Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards and Tony Leech were then brought in to tailor the pic for audiences on the other side of the pond.

The redo involved bringing on a new voice cast that includes Saturday Night Live player Kenan Thompson as candy-loving mutt Doogal and Daily Show host Jon Stewart as the evil sorcerer Zeebad. Doogal is joined on his quest to save the world by friends Dylan (Jimmy Fallon), Brian (William H. Macy) and Ermintrude (Whoopi Goldberg). Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench serves as narrator, while additional voices are provided Chevy Chase, pop star Kylie Minogue, actor Ian McKellen, filmmaker Kevin Smith and current Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader

Doogal takes place in a magical world where three special diamonds can be united to create a force powerful enough to freeze the sun. When Zeebad escapes from his ancient prison and vows to exact revenge by deep-freezing the earth forever, our heroes band together to find the diamonds beore he can get his hands on them. In the process, they must climb icy mountains, navigate fiery pits of molten lava, sail across vast oceans and pass through a booby-trapped temple guarded by an army of ninja skeleton warriors.

The movie is based on the classic British children’s TV series The Magic Roundabout, created by Frenchman Serge Danot in the late 1960s and adapted into English by Eric Thompson. In addition to McKellen and Minogue, the European version of Doogal featured the voices of Ray Winstone (King Arthur, Sexy Beast) Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!, Vanity Fair) and recording artist Robbie Williams. That version was directed by Jean Duval, Frank Passingham and Dave Borthwick.

Doogal opens in around 2,300 theaters across North America, taking on holdover family efforts The Pink Panther from Sony Pictures, Eight Below from Disney and the animated Curious George from Universal.