Pic breaks record for 'resurgence period'

RIO DE JANEIRO – A Globo Filmes feature based on a reformatted TV series is primed to break recent records for a local pic.

Guel Arraes’ “O Auto da Compadecida” was released by Globo Filmes on Sept. 15 and has earned over 10 million reais (more than $5.5 million) in 12 weeks, a B.O. record for a local production in the so-called “resurgence period” (1993-present).

“Auto” was originally a four-part TV series for leading broadcaster TV Globo, a subsid of conglom Organizacoes Globo, which also owns Globo Filmes. TV Globo aired the series in early 1999, when it garnered high ratings and good reviews.

Helmer Arraes re-edited the 2-hour and 40-minute production into a 104-minute feature. Columbia Tri-Star picked up distrib rights.

Strong pedigree

Based on a classic play by local scribe Ariano Suassuna, pic is set in Brazil’s impoverished northeast of the 1930s and tells the story of two young men who spend their lives outsmarting the town’s rich and powerful. It features rising star Matheus Nachtergaele, Selton Mello and 1999 Oscar nominee for actress Fernanda Montenegro.

According to research and marketing company Filme B, “Auto” sold 2,053,002 tickets as of Dec. 4, close to the current recent record set by “Xuxa Requebra.” The kiddie pic, starring the statuesque and wildly popular Xuxa, sold 2,074,461 ducats following its Christmas 1999 release and grossed $4.17 million.

“We had a lot confidence in the product, despite the fact it had been previously shown on TV,” says Columbia’s marketing manager Telma Gadioli.

The theatrical success of “Auto” is a boost of self-confidence for for Globo Filmes, which has not produced as many features as industryites had hoped it would.

This Christmas, Globo Filmes will bow “Um Anjo Trapalhao,” a repackaged version of comedian Renato Aragao’s Christmas series that aired in December 1996 on TV Globo.

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