New Line Cinema announced today that it will be distributing Planet 51, Europe's biggest CGI film ever, in 2009. The $60 million dollar film features astronaut Captain Chuck Baker landing on a planet filled with 1950s-era aliens who live in complete fear of aliens, namely Chuck himself. Gallery of cute aliens after the jump.

This film marks the first time that New Line will be venturing into the waters dominated by Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks Animation, and interestingly enough it was written by Joe Stillman, who wrote both Shrek and Shrek 2 for Dreamworks. The film will be directed by Jorge Blanco, who created the Commandos video games for the PlayStation 2 back in 1998.

New Line will apparently be activating their marketing juggernaut for the film. Ilion CEO Ignacio Perez Dolset said, "The deal has been made with the objective on everybody's part of going out on no fewer than 3,000 screens."

That means New Line will be spending an amount of money equal to the budget or more in an effort to put people in the seats and sell a ton of Planet 51 merchandise and video games. Let's hope they fare better than Fox did when they released Titan A.E. That sci fi animated film tanked in 2000, and single-handedly shut down Fox Animation Studios. Still, New Line won't be selling their shirts for this one, since they're only buying the U.S. distribution rights.

Based on the pictures they've released, and if they're able to attach some A-list voice talent, they might give the other players in the CGI pool a run for their money. If Planet 51 manages to capture any of the whimsy of The Iron Giant, we're in.

New Line Lands On 'Planet 51' [Variety]