Warner Bros. has snatched up the American rights for Paddington 2, after original U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company decided to sell the rights before filing for bankruptcy protection.
Warner Bros. was part of a bidding war for the StudioCanal sequel alongside Sony, Lionsgate, and Global Road. Warner Bros eventually won the bidding at $30 million, bringing Paddington 2 to the studio that also houses one of the film’s producers, David Heyman.
According to Variety, one of the contingency points in the Paddington 2 distribution rights sale is that the Weinstein Co. and StudioCanal will retain profit participation and involvement in future sequels.
While $30 million may seem like a lot of money, it’s a pretty great deal for the sequel to a film that made $76 million in the US and $191 million overseas. The sequel stars Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson alongside returning cast members Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.
Paddington 2 is already a massive hit in the UK off the back of a stellar opening weekend. The film is set for release on January 12th in America, and it’s unclear as of yet if the change in distributor will affect that date.
As for The Weinstein Company, according to Variety, insiders report that the company has as much as $500 million in debt and obligations. The Weinstein Co. is currently selling off assets as it figures out its next step. The company was already in financial trouble prior to the wave of sexual assault allegations against former co-chairman Harvey Weinstein.
TWC’s share of the Paddington 2 sale will go toward keeping the company solvent as the board moves toward selling the remaining assets. TWC is still in discussions for $35m in bridge financing, but the Paddington 2 cash will help the company meet its commitments as the board moves to broker a deal for all assets by year’s end.