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‘Astro’ bows day, date in China, U.S.

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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