US and Hong Kong-based CG animated studio Imagi International Holdings has secured mainland China co-production status for its upcoming release Astro Boy.

China’s Film Bureau, which acts as the gatekeeper for foreign films seeking distribution in China, typically blocks release windows around major national holidays for local product.

However Imagi said late on Tuesday [20] that the film has been given the go-ahead to open in October.

“Not only does co-production mean we get access to release windows not available to foreign films, we also receive a higher percentage of box office receipts,” Imagi’s executive deputy chairman Chiong Kit Phoon said.

Astro Boy will be released in mainland China on October 23, the same date Imagi’s distribution partner, Summit Entertainment, is releasing the film internationally.

David Bowers directed and Maryann Garger produced Astro Boy, based on the Japanese animated story of a robot boy’s quest for love. Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Eugene Levy, Matt Lucas, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland and Nicolas Cage provide the voice talent.