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It's been nearly two years since Paul Blart; Mall Cop first became a surprise hit, inspiring Sony to say to themselves, "Hey, this chubby guy who used to be on TV-- he can probably make us even more money if we give him a budget next time!" And that's how The Zookeeper, a new comedy starring James and a bunch of talking animals, was unleashed upon the earth. The movie was initially scheduled for release this fall, but when Sony tested it for audiences they decided it could be an even bigger hit, so The Zookeeper was scheduled for summer 2011, to compete against the likes of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and the final Harry Potter film.

Now, like any good summer blockbuster, the Zookeeper promotional campaign has started early, with a teaser poster (via Coming Soon) and a trailer that debuted at Apple. You can watch the teaser below or in HD at Apple, but don't get too excited-- the emphasis is mostly on introducing us to the concept of the talking animals at Franklin Park Zoo, and how freaked out Kevin James is to learn that the animals he cares for can talk. Here's the official synopsis provided to Apple:

In Zookeeper, the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James). Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship …


Check out the trailer and poster below, and look for The Zookeeper on July 8 next year.



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