Benedict Cumberbatch’s TV drama The Child in Time is set to receive a theatrical debut in China after Studiocanal closed a deal in the Middle Kingdom.

The distributor sold the 90-minute TV movie, which aired on BBC One in the UK and PBS’ Masterpiece in the U.S., to Vision Film Entertainment, which plans to launch it theatrically and has retained all rights in China.

The unusual deal was struck by Anna Marsh, EVP International Distribution, Studiocanal.

The Child In Time, which was adapted from Ian McEwan’s novel by The Last Kingdom’s Stephen Butchard and directed by Entourage’s Julian Farino, tells the story of love, loss and the power of things unseen. Cumberbatch stars as Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children’s books, whose four-year old child Kate disappears. The drama was the first TV project to emerge from Cumberbatch’s Studiocanal-backed production company SunnyMarch TV, in association with Pinewood.

Beatriz Campos, Head of International Sales, Studiocanal said, “It is gratifying to see this incredibly beautiful drama make its debut in China where Benedict is extremely popular.  I am thrilled that the sale heralds Studiocanal’s first deal in China and we very much look forward to extending our relationship with Vision Film Entertainment with further licensing deals for our extensive catalogue of high-end television and theatrical films.”

Vision Film’s Ricky Qi added, “The Child in Time is an amazing piece of drama with a real cinematic look and feel. The performances of the entire cast, in particular that of Benedict Cumberbatch, are breath-taking. We are delighted to bring this exceptional story to cinema audiences throughout China.”