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Chicken Run director Nick Park lands animated caveman flick

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Director Nick Park (Chicken Run) has landed a new animated film about pre-historic cavemen that’s being backed by StudioCanal and Britain’s Aardman Studios..

As first reported by Deadline, Early Man will track the story of Neanderthals who stage the world’s very first game of soccer. (A lighthearted play on the Flintstones and Planet of the Apes, perhaps?) The animated comedy will officially mark the first time Park, an Academy Award winner, has directed a film since 2005’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Early footage of the stop-motion animated movie—written by filmmakers Mark Burton and Richard Starzak—will be revealed at the Cannes Film Festival later this month.

Early Man is the second joint effort from the European studios, whose first collaboration, Shaun The Sheep: The Movie, has grossed $54 million since its international release earlier this year. Directed and written by Burton and Starzak, the film—about a sheep from the countryside who heads to the big city—will be released stateside by Lionsgate on Aug. 7.

No release date for Early Man has been set, though Deadline reports StudioCanal (whose Paddington film was a bonafide hit, grossing over $254 million worldewide) is eyeing a release ahead of the World Cup in 2018.