Spain takes to TV special

MADRID — DreamWorks Animation’s half-hour special “Shrek the Halls” ruled the Yule in Spain, ringing up the best TV ratings for any TV show over Xmas.

Airing primetime Dec. 25 at 10.00 p.m., “Halls” took a 37.3% aud share and 6.9 million viewers.

“Halls” aired on Spain’s second most popular terrestrial broadcaster, Antena 3 TV.

The result underscores the lure of straight-to-TV first-run movie attractions, especially blockbuster spawns.

In Spain, that kind of eyeball level is only achieved by televised soccer matches in Spain.

But it wasn’t all festive cheer for “Shrek.” Some reactions to the mini-movie deemed the spin-off a rip-off.

“Halls” faced stiff competition from Telecinco’s “Meet the Fockers,” which made a boffo Euros 13.6 million ($19.7 million) at Spanish theaters in 2005. But “Shrek the Halls” saw off “The Fockers,” which took a good 24.1% share and 3.8 million viewers.

Yet, judging from TV website comments at least, it will have done little to bolster the rep of the “Shrek” franchise in Spain.

Antena 3 ran a bullish promo campaign. Maybe a bit too bullish. In a country not known for time-keeping, some comments carped that “Halls” was overly brief.

“It had finished before I tuned in,” beefed one Vertele website comment. Others thought “Halls” trifling. “How can you turn karaoke into a TV show?” said another blogger. “That was a scam. Antena 3 should suffer an audience penalty,” said a third.

The movie “Shrek 2” grossed $40.8 million in Spain in 2004. “Shrek the Third” took $26.3 million this year.

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