×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China’s Phoenix Buys Italian Body-Positivity Comedy ‘Sweeties’

Chinese distributor Phoenix Entertainment Group has bought all China rights to the Italian comedic drama “The Sweeties” from Germany-based Media Luna New Films.

The movie is the second feature from director Francesco Ghiaccio and stars Valeria Solarino, Vinicio Marchioni and four young newcomers in their acting debut. It deals with issues of bullying and body-shaming through the story of three overweight girls who decide to become synchronized swimming champions after a video of them in their swimsuits embarrasses them online.

It was written by Marco D’Amore, also known for his turn as an actor in the TV series “Gomorrah.”  It is distributed in Italy by VisionDistribution. It premiered at the Giffoni Film Festival earlier this year.

Phoenix Entertainment is one of China’s bigger production and distribution companies, and has jointly produced films such as “Wolf Totem” and “This Is Not What I Expected,” the 2017 romantic comedy starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhou Dongyu. Media Luna was founded in 1991 by Ida Martins and focuses on independent films with an original style.

Now that the Chinese government’s propaganda bureau is directly in charge of film censorship, it has been more difficult to predict what sorts of content will obtain approval. Authorities have repeatedly called for more content that exudes “positive energy,” containing uplifting but unpolitical messaging.

According to the Giffoni festival website, the main young actors said at the film’s premiere that, being more heavyset, “we’re invisible because we’re not what society seeks for, and it’s such a bad feeling….It doesn’t matter what size or color you are. We’re all the same.”

Ruby Li, who negotiated the deal for Phoenix, told Variety she had selected it because “the feel-good comedy can be easily related to.”

“The story tells us not to seek perfection, but to accept who you are, since beauty can be in different forms,” she said.

The Chinese youth drama about school bullying, “Better Days,” currently in theaters, has been this fall’s breakout hit on the mainland, grossing $201 million (RMB1.41 billion) so far since its late October release.

More Film

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    'Once Upon a Time,' 'Farewell,' 'Judy' Excluded From Writers Guild Awards

    The scripts for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” and Tom Edge’s “Judy” have been excluded from the Writers Guild of America Awards. Unlike other guilds, the WGA excludes as candidates any screenplays not produced under its jurisdiction or that of another guild. That’s because the WGA has the [...]

  • The Matrix Keanu Reeves Carrie Ann

    'The Flash' and 'The Matrix 4' Get Release Dates from Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has dated the fourth “The Matrix” movie and “The Flash” for summer openings in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and pulled “Akira” off the schedule. The studio announced Wednesday that “The Flash” would be released on July 1, 2022, while the untitled “Matrix” would open on May 21, 2021. “The Flash” will star Ezra Miller, [...]

  • Promising Young Woman trailer

    Carey Mulligan Gets Revenge in 'Promising Young Woman' Trailer

    Carey Mulligan is a vengeance-seeking, rape-culture-dismantling badass in the trailer for “Killing Eve” showrunner Emerald Fennell’s new film, “Promising Young Woman.” “Every week, I go to a club. I act like I’m too drunk to stand. And every week, a nice guy comes over to see if I’m okay,” Mulligan says coldly over a violinist’s [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Stephen King's 'The Dark Half' Movie Adaptation in the Works

    Stephen King’s horror novel “The Dark Half” is getting the movie treatment at MGM with “Her Smell” director Alex Ross Perry on board to helm. King wrote the book in 1989 about a novelist whose pseudonym comes to life as a murderous twin after his own pen name, Richard Bachman, was revealed. MGM first adapted [...]

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Can 'Jumanji' Sequel Achieve Next-Level Box Office Success?

    “Jumanji: The Next Level” will seamlessly swing atop box office charts when it debuts in theaters on Friday. But the sequel will need to become another word-of-mouth hit for Sony if it hopes to entice moviegoers once “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” launches the following weekend. If history repeats itself, “Jumanji” and “Star Wars” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content