Spain

B.O. CUME: $19 million (through Aug.)
TOPPERS: Luis de Val, prexy; Ignacio Puebla, g.m., operations; Luis de Val Minguez, producer
NEW RELEASES: “The Myth” (Sept. 1), “Bubble” (Sept. 1), “Hoodwinked” (Sept. 22), “A Prairie Home Companion” (Sept. 29), “Yo soy la Juani” (Oct. 6), “Trust the Man” (Nov.)

Barcelona-based Manga Films was Spain’s top indie distrib over the first seven months of 2006, grossing E14.6 million ($18.8 million), a 4.2% market share. (Vet Spanish boutique TriPictures grossed only $80,740 less, per Nielsen EDI.)

Manga’s leadership was powered by “Crash,” with a healthy $10.5 million and “Good Night, and Good Luck” ($4.4 million).

This year marks the resurgence of Manga Films, which was whammied by the collapse of Spain’s pay TV market in 2003. The company survived, thanks to a strong DVD sales operation — its catalog includes more than 3,200 titles — and a 22-pic deal with pubcaster RTVE.

The future looks more encouraging. In late July, Spanish telco-media-tech giant Avanzit acquired Manga for $36 million.

“The deal will give us autonomy and muscle. If a big film supplier were to be on the block, we could make a play for it,” says Manga prexy Luis de Val.

It was a big buyer at Cannes, while its production arm Media Films has co-produced Bigas Luna’s new project, “Yo soy la Juani,” bowing in Spain Oct. 6.

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