Shawn Seet's contemporary remake of Storm Boy will get a prime school holiday release after being acquired by Sony Pictures Releasing.
Sony will launch the new version of Henri Safran's 1976 classic, which stars Geoffrey Rush, Jai Courtney and newcomer Finn Little, on January 10.
"We're extremely bullish about the film; we think it has terrific commercial prospects," Sony executive VP Stephen Basil-Jones tells IF.
The distributor is confident the drama adapted by Justin Monjo from Colin Thiele's novel will have multi-generational appeal, resonating with moviegoers who fondly remember the original film and with younger people.
Sony swooped on the rights after a deal originally announced with StudioCanal did not pan out.
Rush plays Mike 'Storm Boy' Kingsley, a retired businessman who starts to see things which at first he can't explain. When his grand-daughter rebels against her father, he is forced to re-evaluate his life and tires to prevent her from going down a similar path to one he took years before.
He recounts to her the story of him as a boy when he lived a lonely life with his father, Hideaway Tom, on an isolated coastline and how a bond with an orphaned pelican, Mr. Percival, changed his life.
Courtney plays Hideaway Tom and the supporting cast includes Trevor Jamieson as Fingerbone Bill, Erik Thomson and Morgana Davies, with a cameo from David Gulpilil as Fingerbone Bill's father.
Ambience Entertainment's Michael Boughen and Matthew Street produced the film with investment from Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation, Piccadilly Pictures, Aurora Global Media Capita and Salt Media and Entertainment. Kathy Morgan International is selling overseas rights.
The original starred Greg Rowe, Peter Cummins and Gulpilil. Basil-Jones said, "We loved the script, which is so respectful and sensitive to the original."