EXCLUSIVE: Paddington 2 is going to Warner Bros., the home of the pic’s producer David Heyman. Warner Bros. made the news official in a press release this morning. Weinstein originally possessed domestic rights on the StudioCanal movie. The news today confirms what Deadline originally reported, that WB was one of the leading contenders for domestic rights to the pic.
Warner Bros. beat out Sony, Lionsgate and Global Road in a bidding war that reached $30M.
Further points need to be worked out on the deal. The trick now is for Warner Bros. to meet the pic’s Jan. 12 release date and market the sequel in time.
Warner Bros. is known for great blockbuster family entertainment, and can look forward to starting off their 2018 with a solid result. The first movie also opened over the 2015 MLK weekend to $25.5M over four-days and ultimately grossed $76.2M at the domestic B.O, $268M worldwide. Paddington 2 will face off against 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks’ The Post in a wide expansion, Lionsgate’s Liam Neeson movie The Commuter, and Screen Gems’ Proud Mary. Already, the sequel to Heyday Films’ and Studiocanal’s 2014 family smash is on its way to a massive UK result — it opened this weekend at 59% above the original. The franchise is based on Michael Bond’s bestselling children’s stories. Paul King directs from a script he wrote with Simon Farnaby.
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 with Fortress 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. One of the contingency points in the Paddington 2 deal per sources is that the Weinstein Co. and StudioCanal will retain profit participation and involvement in future sequels.