Spain’s Telecinco Cinema, a driving force behind some of the most ambitious films that have come out of Europe of late – think Che, Agora and The Impossible – has set its gameplan for a 2013 production slate.
In the mix: Two larger English- language movies around Euros10 million ($13 million)-$ 19.5 million, a double animation bill, including a Tad, The Lost Explorer sequel, and at least a comedy trio.
Outlined by TC CEO Ghislain Barrois at the San Sebastian Festival, the slate is being firmed up as TC celebrates the European premiere of Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible, with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and as a second TC co-production, toon pic Tad, the Lost Explorer, cumed Euros $14.4 million through Sept. 23, a head-turning result for Spain.
With The Impossible bowing to huge expectation at San Sebastian, and opening Oct. 11 in Spain via Warners, TC has an odds-on chance of co-producing Spain’s two biggest hits of 2012.
The Impossible and Tad establish “a clear line of the type of movie we have to be involved with in the future,” Barrois enthused.
Topping Spanish B.O. charts four weeks in a row, the Paramount- distributed Tad dropped just 6% Sept. 21-23.
“That’s an incredible result,” said Barrois.
Two factors are at play: “Tad’s a very well-rounded movie, very well-made; also, Mediaset España gave it a colossal prmotion, fighting for it with all its might on its seven TV channels.”
Co-produced with Apaches, The Impossible meanwhile weighs into San Sebastian off Toronto as one of the threeor- four titles at the Canadian mega-fest being talked up as an Oscar contender.
Barrois commented: “The success of The Impossible and Tad is helping. Everybody wants to work with us internationally, all the majors, all the doors are open. On the other hand, we have to deliver.”
Now in development, TC’s two major English-language movies will both be directed by Spaniards.
“One of the risks of doing projects in English for the international market is you increase the international potential but you decrease the Spanish one. The tremendous challenge consists of trying to do both.”
Meanwhile, Tad producers - TC, El Toro Pics, Ikiru Films and Lightbox Ent. - are working on ideas for a Tad sequel.
Of immediate projects, Patxi Amezcua’s thriller 7th Floor, starring Ricardo Darín and Belén Rueda, shoots in Buenos Aires from November, having punched strong pre-sales, including with Fox Intl. for North America, Latin America and Spain.
Gibraltar Straits-set action thriller El Niño, re-teaming helmer Daniel Monzon with thesp Luis Tosar after 2009 sleeper Cell 211, rolls from early spring.
Studiocanal-sold, Niño costars Sergi López (Map of the Sounds of Tokyo).
In a crisis context, Barrois finds cause for hope in another phenom: Select Spanish films’ recent stellar TV ratings, such as Cuatro’s Spanish Movie (15.3%) and Antena 3’s Three Meters Above the Sky (25%) and To Hell with the Ugly (20%).
“That’s incredibly important, because finally there might be an output and an appetite from the networks for product which hasn’t been the case for more than a decade,” Barrois said..
JOHN HOPEWELL, EMILIANO DE PABLOS