STX/Lakeshore’s The Boy has secured an April 1 Chinese release date in what is understood to be the first time a U.S.-produced horror pic will go out theatrically in the Middle Kingdom. Huayi Bros, which has touted the film’s arrival on its Weibo site, acquired the title from Lakeshore and is distributing. Fittingly, STX and Huayi on April 1 will celebrate the one-year anniversary of sealing a three-year pact to produce 12-15 projects annually. The Boy‘s development pre-dated that agreement, although part of the deal gave Huayi a first-look on most STX pics.
This is the first STX film that will head to the PROC. The company has established deep ties in China. Along with its Huayi relationship, it has investment from Chinese firm Hony Capital.
The Boy released January 22 domestically and has grossed $35.5M to date. Lakeshore handles all of overseas where its strongest performances have included Mexico, France and Russia. This kind of scary fare typically bypasses Chinese theaters, so it’s expected some tweaks were made for the local release, but it’s not clear to what extent.
The film stars The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan as Greta, an American woman who takes a babysitting job in a remote English village. The boy she is charged with is actually a life-sized porcelain doll whom the parents treat as real in an effort to cope with the death of their son 20 years prior. When Greta violates a strict list of rules to care for the “boy,” he retaliates in nightmarish ways. William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) is director with Jim Wedaa, Roy Lee, Matt Berenson, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi and Richard Wright as producers.
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