Lionsgate, Panamax roll out first title

'Mujer' opens on 200 screens

Lionsgate is set to release its first Latino pic under its joint venture with Jim McNamara’s Panamax Films, romantic comedy “La Mujer de mi hermano.” Starring telenovela actress Barbara Mori, pic bows Friday on about 200 screens in 20 key markets, one of the largest openings for a Spanish-lingo pic aimed at U.S. Latino auds. Original launch date in January was pushed back to allow for more marketing and promotion lead time.

Panamax entered into a multiyear pact with Lionsgate in November to develop and produce Spanish/Latino pics for the North American and worldwide markets.

“(Helmer) Ricardo de Montreuil possesses a distinctive filmmaking voice and we are looking forward to bringing his vision to theaters,” said Lionsgate films prexy Tom Ortenberg. De Montreuil is currently a creative director at Telemundo’s youth-skewed sibling net mun2.

Lionsgate has bought TV, radio and print ads in Spanish-language media. TV ads are not only on primary U.S. Hispanic nets Univision, Telemundo, Telefutura and Galavision, but also on niche channels such as Telecolombia.

Pic was produced by Venezuela’s Stan Jakubowicz and features a pan-Latino cast and crew. Montreuil is Peruvian while scribe Jaime Bayly hails from Chile. Pic also stars Manolo Cardona (Colombia), Christian Meier (Peru), Angelica Aragon (Mexico), Bruno Bichir (Mexico) and Gabriela Espino (Venezuela), with a cameo by Beto Cuevas (Chile), leader of rock band La Ley.

Lionsgate and Panamax are eyeing another pic starring Mori, who’s Mexican.

“La Mujer de mi hermano” was the leading R-rated film last year in Mexico, where it grossed an estimated $3.5 million. It was No. 1 at the box office in Venezuela, Colombia and Peru.

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