Lionsgate’s Johnny Depp-starring movie “City of Lies” has been licensed to startup distributor Sweet Charm Media for release in China. The deal was closed at the Cannes Film Festival.

The fact-based film is directed by Brad Furman and sees Depp appear as a detective, Russell Poole, many of whose cases were not adequately solved. He began investigating the Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur murders. Poole failed to nail the killers in these cases too, but instead uncovered corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department. The film script was adapted by Christian Contreras from the book by Randall Sullivan. Production is by Good Films.

Sweet Charm, which was formed only in March, by Yoyo Qu, aims to give the film a release in the second half of the year — if possible in a day-and-day alignment with overseas outings.

“City of Lies” is to be released by Global Road Entertainment in North America on Sept. 7, suggesting that it may also get some play in the key autumn festivals.

While a familiar figure on Chinese screens, Depp is a star with mixed appeal in the Middle Kingdom. His “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” grossed $172 million. But “Alice Through The Looking Glass” earned only $58.8 million in China, and his “Transcendence” took just $20.3 million.

News was first covered by The Hollywood Reporter.