Studio's on crime scene

Lionsgate has picked up worldwide distribution rights to Mexican urban crime drama “Fuera del cielo” (Beyond the Sky) in its bid to woo Spanish-speaking auds in the U.S. and elsewhere abroad.

Deal was made with Mexico’s Panamax Films, which has a multiyear pact with Lionsgate to produce and distribute Latino features for worldwide markets. Earlier this year, Lionsgate released domestically “La Mujer de mi hermano,” the first title resulting from the partnership.

Latino auds are the fastest-growing segment of the moviegoing population, although Spanish-language films as a class haven’t yet proven to be box office phenoms.

“Fuera,” helmed by Javier Patron Fox in his feature directorial debut, is set against the devastated backdrop of Mexico City and revolves around two brothers, one of whom has just been released from prison and is trying to find his younger sibling, a boxer. Guillermo Rios penned the script.

Film recently played at the Guadalajara Film Festival in Mexico, with Fox picking up the director nod. Videocine will release “Fuera” in Mexico on Dec. 29. Lionsgate has not set a release date for the U.S. or other international territories.

“La Mujer” was the leading R-rated film in Mexico last year, grossing an estimated $3.5 million. U.S. cume was $2.8 million. In 2002, “Y tu mama tambien” did notable numbers, grossing $13.6 million domestically.

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