*Rapper Drake, comedian Wanda Sykes, Nickelodeon star Keke Palmer and “American Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez are joining the voice cast of the fourth “Ice Age” cartoon, “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
Actor Jeremy Renner and “Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari have also been added to the Fox franchise, joining returning actors Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Seann William Scott and Josh Peck.
The cast was revealed Tuesday during a meeting on the Fox lot with potential promotional partners, licensees and retail partners, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Romano and Queen Latifah took participants through the “Continental Drift” storyline.
Due in theaters on July 13, 2012, Renner will portray Gutt, a self-styled master of the high seas. Lopez will play Shira, a saber-toothed tiger who melts the heart of Diego, played by Leary. Romano returns as Manny and Queen Latifah as Ellie, both mammoths. It was not known what roles the other new arrivals would play.
The first three “Ice Age” films have grossed nearly $2 billion at the worldwide box office, putting Fox and production partner Blue Sky Studios squarely in the animation game. Their winning streak continues with”Rio,” which has grossed nearly $300 million in less than three weeks.
“Ice Age” is becoming a year-round brand for Fox. A Christmas television special is being planned, along with a mobile game and online game.