'Bathers III' uses superpowers on man of steel in Argentina

The opening of “Superman Returns” was no match for a local beach laffer starring three bathers with superpowers in Argentina last weekend.

The man of steel was given a pasting by “Baneros III, todopoderosos” (Bathers III, Superpowers), which took in 1.88 million pesos ($609,000) from Thursday to Sunday, according to provisional Nielsen EDI Argentina figures released Monday.

“Superman Returns” took in $431,000 and came in third at the box office behind fellow opener “Over the Hedge” ($503,000).

“Bathers” is about three friends at a beach resort who use their powers to stop a Hong Kong gang from making a potion that can dominate people’s desires. It was made for $1 million by Telefe Cine and Argentina Sono Films; latter is distributing.

Directed by Rodolfo Ledo, the pic stars comedians Emilio Disi and Gino Renni, who made their names in the 1980s in the first versions of “Bathers,” which have become cult favorites.

The pic taps a resurgence of 1980s culture, said Alejandro De Grazia, topper of local distrib-producer Pachamama Cine.

“Everybody remembers the music, the culture, the movies of the 1980s,” he said. “All of my friends want to see the film to have fun and to remember what it was like when we were younger.”

“Superman Returns” lagged because “it was nothing new except for the special effects,” De Grazia added. “People want to see a new story, not the same thing over again.”

Telefe’s Mentasti has produced some of Argentina’s hottest hits of the past two decades.

His “Papa se volvio loco” (Dad’s Come Back Crazy) was the second biggest draw at the box office last year, beating Hollywood blockbusters like “War of the Worlds,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”

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