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How Paddington Bear Kept The Weinstein Company Afloat

No, really

Paddington Bear, the cuddly creature in a cozy rain slicker, is helping The Weinstein Company weather a storm.

Warner Bros. will release “Paddington 2” in North America this weekend on a wave of warm reviews. That’s good news for a company driven to bankruptcy by ousted co-founder Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal.

The Weinstein Company held domestic rights to the first “Paddington” film, which opened big to $25 million on MLK weekend in 2015, going on to gross $76 million. In November, after the Weinstein scandal broke, TWC sold the domestic rights to “Paddington 2” for an undisclosed price.

The deal helped keep TWC afloat as it tries to find a new owner. “Paddington” was one of the few assets it had with mainstream appeal and could fetch a high price from interested studios. Analysts expect “Paddington 2” to earn in the low $20 million range this holiday weekend.

Of course, Harvey Weinstein’s troubles aren’t the fault of lovable “Paddington” — and producer David Heyman has expressed hope that “Paddington 2” can distance itself from the struggling studio.

TheWrap reported last week that TWC has six bidders, with the top offer falling below $500 million. Whoever the new owners are, they won’t be responsible for the overwhelming litigation cost TWC is currently facing, much of it connected to Weinstein’s sexual harassment charges.

And you can bet that once the deal goes through, they’ll undergo a  rebrand.