×

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on course to have been released in China on Friday, Sept. 26, but in the evening of Sept. 25 it was mysteriously withdrawn from release by Yunnan Film Group.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

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

  • Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2019

    Variety has announced its 10 Actors to Watch for 2019, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998. Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Mahershala Ali, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o and Melissa Leo. This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 27 issue of [...]

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a boy who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star

    Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star in Virtual Reality Project 'Glimpse'

    Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton will star in “Glimpse,” a new virtual reality experience that will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival. Written and directed by Benjamin Cleary and VR creator Michael O’Connor, “Glimpse” will be entered in the Venice Virtual Reality Interactive showcase. It’s set in the imaginative mind of a heartbroken panda, [...]

  • Dan Trachtenberg

    Tom Holland's 'Uncharted' Movie Loses Director

    Dan Trachtenberg has exited the director’s chair for Sony’s “Uncharted” movie starring Tom Holland, with the studio taking meetings with top filmmakers and production starting early next year. The studio confirmed Trachtenberg’s departure Thursday. It also said Sony-based PlayStation Productions — headed by Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan — had come on to produce alongside [...]

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content