Release date breaks China's blackout period

“Astro Boy” will be released in China on Oct. 23, the same day as its U.S. bow. The toon secured co-production status on the mainland via Los Angeles- and Hong Kong-based Imagi Intl., and the release date breaks into the October blackout period China reserves for domestic fare.

Pic will be distributed by Summit Entertainment.

“Not only does co-production mean we get access to release windows not available to foreign films, we also receive a higher percentage of box office receipts,” said Imagi executive deputy chairman Chiong Kit Phoon.

This is good news for Imagi, which has had a hard time during the downturn and was forced at one point to suspend “Astro Boy” production to reorganize funding.

“Astro Boy,” about a young robot with superhero powers, was created by Osamu Tezuka and first aired as a TV toon in Japan in the mid-1960s.

Pic is helmed by David Bowers; voice cast includes Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Nathan Lane, Freddie Highmore, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Donald Sutherland and Kristen Bell.

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