STX films has acquired The Upside, the Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston-led remake of the French hit The Intouchables that found itself in limbo after The Weinstein Co. declared bankruptcy in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein accusations.
Directed by Neil Burger (Divergent), The Upside is a heartfelt comedy about a recently paroled ex-convict (Hart) who strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a paralyzed billionaire (Cranston). Oscar winner Nicole Kidman co-stars alongside Emmy winner Julianna Margulies and Aja Naomi King (Birth of a Nation).
STX has partnered with Lantern Entertainment on the global release of the film, which is said to walk a fine line between comedy and drama. The star-driven film certainly fits with STX’s model, and the studio is said to have beaten out stiff competition for the acquisition title, which several distributors had been circling once it became available
“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 STX films chairman Adam Fogelson. “This [is a] heartwarming film that has universal appeal and features world-class performances,” added Lantern’s Andy Mitchell.
The original French film was inspired by a true story and went on to gross $416 million overseas. Jon Hartmere wrote the remake, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was produced by the Escape Artists trio of Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black and Steve Tisch.
The Upside acquisition comes in the midst of a big month for STX, which has the Mark Wahlberg action movie Mile 22 revving into theaters this weekend, and the Melissa McCarthy comedy The Happytime Murders opening next week. Its upcoming films include the romantic comedy Second Act starring Jennifer Lopez, the submarine thriller Kursk starring Colin Firth, and the action movie Peppermint starring Jennifer Garner.