EXCLUSIVE: The most prominent of the Weinstein Co. leftover titles The Upside is landing with STX Entertainment, who is partnering with Lantern Entertainment to handle worldwide distribution on Neil Burger’s remake of the French hit The Intouchables. We heard that others were circling to distribute this title, including Aviron, with some majors expressing interest, but word is that STX always had the inside track with this movie. The Upside is the first of the frozen TWC films to make its way into circulation. Deadline’s scoop was confirmed by STXfilms Chairman Adam Fogelson, along with Andy Mitchell from Lantern Entertainment.

The pic which stars Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman world-premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival where it made its mark as a crowd pleaser. The pic follows a recently paroled ex-convict (Hart) who strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a paralyzed billionaire (Cranston). The film is a sweet spot acquisition for STXfilms fitting the studio’s core model of programming titles with stars in their true signature roles. Julianna Margulies and Aja Naomi King also star.

“This is a hilariously funny and emotionally affecting film. It evokes elements of films like Trading Places and Scent of a Woman, while still being completely fresh with characters that are as memorable as they are hysterical,” said Fogelson.  “Neil did an incredible job with this comedy and we can’t wait to work with Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman and Bryan Cranston. We are thrilled to add The Upside to the STXfilms slate and we look forward to working with the team at Lantern Entertainment.”
Lantern’s Andy Mitchell commented, “STX is an ideal distribution partner for this heartwarming film that has universal appeal and features world-class performances.  We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to fostering a productive relationship with the entire STX team.”

For a moment before the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal, the Weinstein Co. was going to give The Upside an Oscar push last fall. No official word yet on the release date for The Upside, but we’ve heard that an awards season corridor release isn’t out of the question. Hart already has a major fall Universal comedy scheduled on Sept. 28, Night School with Tiffany Haddish, and Cranston is taking Network to Broadway for a Nov. 10 preview date and Dec. opening, so those are factors in regards to when The Upside opens. Having these two bankable stars promoting a film like The Upside is important.

The original French-language version of The Intouchables grossed $416 million overseas. Inspired by a true-story, it chronicles an aristocrat (Francois Cluzet) who, after being injured, hires a young man (Omar Sy) from the wrong side of the tracks to be his caretaker. The Upside is an Escape Artists production. Producers are Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black and Steve Tisch.
Other finished TWC titles that were screened for buyers include The Current War, which premiered at TIFF last year, and Mary Magdalene with Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix, which has already been released overseas making around $12M.