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‘The Upside’ Poised for China Theatrical Release

The Upside,” a 2017 American remake of the 2011 hit French drama “The Intouchables,” will get a China release on Nov. 22.

The film was directed by Neil Burger and stars Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship that forms between a rich quadriplegic and the struggling parolee he hires to take care of him.

It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and was set for distribution the following year by The Weinstein Company, but those plans were put on hold following the allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein. The film was later bought by STX Entertainment and Lantern Entertainment, which released it this past January in the U.S., where it went on to earn $108 million. It was released in theaters in Hong Kong in April, earning a modest $600,000 there.

The Intouchables” was not released in China, but in March, the Oscar-winning “The Green Book” – another story of an unlikely friendship between a black and a white man – saw critical acclaim in the country and grossed $68 million.

The release date for “The Upside” was announced just 11 days before the film is due to hit theaters, giving it scant time for marketing in the country. That pattern is not only confined to foreign movies. Local film “Better Days,” which had multiple censorship delays, had just three days advance notice before its eventual outing, but has gone on to earn an astonishing RMB1.41 billion (about $200 million).

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