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Make that one less asset available in the Weinstein Co. fire sale.
Warner Bros. has snapped up North American distribution rights to Paddington 2, which TWC has unloaded amid the looming prospect of bankruptcy in the wake of dozens of sexual harassment and assault claims leveled at founder Harvey Weinstein.
The film, which already opened in the U.K. earlier this month and is currently No. 1 at the box office in that territory, was one of the more coveted assets in TWC’s slate of upcoming films. The fact that Warners scooped up the kid-friendly pic shouldn’t come as a surprise as producer David Heyman has strong ties with the studio, including eight Harry Potter films, the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise and Gravity.
Paddington 2, which was fully financed by StudioCanal, is set to debut Jan. 12 in North America.
Based on the best-selling children’s stories by Michael Bond, the film was directed by Paul King, who helmed the first outing with the bear with the red hat. King and Simon Farnaby adapted the screenplay.
While Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson are new to the voice cast for this incarnation, the original’s Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin all return, as do Ben Whishaw, as the voice of Paddington, and Imelda Staunton, as the voice of Aunt Lucy.
The new story finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.
The filmmakers behind Paddington 2 were adamant about extricating the family film from TWC, which is now engulfed in scandal, lawsuits and financial ruin.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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