×

Nicolas Cage’s ‘Outcast’ Gets China Relaunch, eOne as U.S. Distributor (EXCLUSIVE)

Outcast,” the Chinese-made Nicolas Cage-starring period action movie, is to get a near simultaneous release in the world’s two biggest theatrical markets in early 2015 – some four months after its mainland China outing was thwarted.

The film, directed by former stunt and action co-ordinator Nick Powell, will be released in China in January next year and in North America in early Feb.

Entertainment One is in final negotiations to acquire the rights and release through Phase 4, the distributor it bought in June. Rights in North America are owned by the film’s principal backer China’s Yunnan Film Group and are represented by Mark Canton’s Atmosphere Entertainment. Atmosphere sources told Variety that eOne is eyeing a Feb. 6 outing.

Outcast” was previously on course to have been released in China on Friday, Sept. 26, but in the evening of Sept. 25 it was mysteriously withdrawn from release by Yunnan Film Group.

The release halt came without warning for co-star Hayden Christiansen, executive producers Arclight and producer Jeremy Bolt, all of whom were in China to support the launch.

The relaunch and its synchronized American outing were announced Monday in Los Angeles, by La Peikang, chairman of China Film Company, and Zhang Xun, head of China Film Coproduction Corporation. The film, which is largely in English and Mandarin, is an official three-way co-production between China, France and Canada.

Reasons for the abrupt halt in September remain steeped in mystery and speculation. While some sources have suggested that Yunnan Film Group had financial difficulties, others said that the film had not been able to book the number of screens that Yunnan Film Group wanted. Other commentary suggested that Chinese censors had reconsidered their initial approval because of the picture’s high body count and graphic 3D battle images.

Censorship seemed a plausible explanation following the earlier example of the temporary halting of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” in early 2013. But a screening of “Outcast” at the Paramount Theater, carried a pre-credits approval certificate from China’s State General Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, and a title card from state-owned Huaxia Distribution.

“We have never been given a full explanation for the problems. But it is clear that Yunnan Film Group still has great confidence in the movie,” Bolt told Variety. “They had final cut and paid attention to details that would make the film right for Chinese audiences. They also bought out the North American rights, which shows their faith here too.”

In all other markets, outside China and North America, rights sales were handled by LA- and Sydney-based Arclight.

The new dates will likely trigger a round of rescheduling in other markets, especially in Asia, where several territories including Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, were scheduled for day-and-date releases linked to the Chinese launch. Late January falls between the two busiest theatrical peaks of the year in China: December and Chinese New Year, which in 2015 starts on Feb. 19.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Chinese director Jia Zhangke at the

    Iconic Chinese Auteur Jia Zhangke Touts Trio of Projects at Pingyao

    No one attending the Pingyao International Film Festival can escape learning about Jia Zhangke’s upcoming projects, with the same three trailers for them playing before each and every screening. The art house icon, turned businessman is ever-present in the historic town. First off, there is a new collaboration between Jia and Momo, a Chinese social [...]

  • Plans to Build New Film Studio

    Plans for New London Film Studio Run Into Difficulties

    Plans to build a major new film and TV studio complex in London to take advantage of Britain’s production boom have run into difficulties. Be First, the local Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company spearheading the project, says that Los Angeles-based developer Pacifica Ventures will no longer be involved in the project. Pacifica was selected [...]

  • La Rouei

    Lumiere Festival to Premiere Epic Restoration of 'La Roue'

    LYON, France  —  This coming Saturday and Sunday, the Lumière Festival will turn back the clock nearly one hundred years as the festival premieres a new completed reconstruction of Abel Gance’s 1923 masterpiece “La Roue” (“The Wheel”) that restores the classic to its original 7.5 hour length. Consisting of a prologue and four movements, “La [...]

  • Lina Wertmuller portrait

    Lina Wertmuller’s Exceptional Career Revisited

    In the still American-led realm of the Academy Awards, it’s unusual for the helmer of a film not in the English language to score a Best Director nomination. It’s far rarer still, meanwhile, for a woman to be nominated in the category at all: just five have done so in 91 years. Only one director, [...]

  • Fifth Seal

    Lumière Festival Honors Hungary, Screens Classics ‘Women,’ ‘The Fifth Seal’

    For the fifth year running, Lyon’s Lumière Festival will honor Hungarian cinema and invite guests of the Hungarian National Film Fund to present two classic Hungarian films from important national filmmakers, Márta Mészáros’ “Ők ketten” (“Women”) and Zoltán Fábri’s “Fifth Seal.” Both films will be presented by Lumière Festival special guest Marina Vlady on Oct [...]

  • Godzilla

    Criterion Collection President Peter Becker on Storytelling, Bergman vs Godzilla, B-movies

    LYON, France  —  The Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) kicked off on Tuesday in Lyon, France, with a keynote address by Criterion Collection President Peter Becker. The exec discussed the company’s storied history and evolution over the decades into a leading publisher of classic and contemporary films from around the world in high-quality [...]

  • Manuel Chiche

    Boutique Distributor Manuel Chiche Offers A State of The Industry

    LYON, France  — Manuel Chiche is riding high. Since June, his boutique distribution outlet The Jokers set admission records with Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” selling nearly 1.7 million tickets in France and still going strong as the film heads into its 19th week in theaters. Indeed, “Parasite” is now the second most successful Palme d’Or winner of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content