Weinstein Co.'s Paddington 2 lands at Warner Bros. for U.S. release
Paddington 2 has officially jumped ship from The Weinstein Co. in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Warner Bros. has acquired North American distribution rights to the sequel, the company announced Wednesday. The family-friendly film will keep its Jan. 12 release date in the U.S. and Canada.
Ben Whishaw stars as the voice of Paddington Bear, among a cast that includes Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris, and Samuel Joslin.
Paddington 2 sees the bear in the blue coat and red hat settled in with the Brown family. While working a string of odd jobs to buy a pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington discovers someone has stolen the gift, setting him on a mission to uncover the thief.
StudioCanal fully financed the film, which opened atop the U.K. box office earlier this month.
The Weinstein Co. took swift action on its upcoming slate after reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Weinstein, the studio’s now-disgraced head honcho. The number of women coming forward with similar claims has only increased, though Weinstein denies any instances of non-consensual sex.
The Current War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, was pushed from its Nov. 24 release date. In the Heights creators Quiara A. Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda also publicly called for The Weinstein Co. to drop the planned movie adaptation.
“The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives — Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg, and Tarak Ben Ammar — are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein,” the studio said in a statement in October. “These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”
“Our banks, partners, and shareholders are fully supportive of our company and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company,” he said at the time. “Polaroid is moving forward as planned with a release date of Nov. 22 followed by Paddington 2 on Jan. 12. The first Paddington grossed over $75 million and we expect even greater success for Paddington 2. Test screening scores are through the roof. War with Grandpa starring Robert De Niro is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2018. Business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”