Miniseries may threaten film finance
Two-part Spanish miniseries “El Castigo” has achieved the unthinkable in Spain: stealing auds from the hugely popular “CSI: Miami.”But its triumph is bad news for the local film biz. A testosterone-packed thriller, Daniel Calpasoro’s “El Castigo” lashed the Monday primetime opposition, taking a 26.5% share for 4.9 million viewers. The mini, which airs on Antena 3, took a chunk out of “CSI: Miami’s” younger-skewing demo on Telecinco, which scored 18% and 3.6 million. Building word of mouth, “Castigo” did even better on Tuesday, increasing to 27.8% and 5.3 million pairs of eyeballs. Telecinco’s “Big Brother” trailed in second with 22.7% and 3.4 million. Antena 3 has averaged 16.5% share this month. “Castigo” turns on a brutal reformatory for fractious adolescents, high in the Pyrenees. Using “Lost”-style flashbacks, “Castigo” boasts a good-looking teen cast, some soft-core torture – the inmates are kept in cages, punished by water immersion – plus teen lust. Flashbacks include one high school femme moonlighting as a stripper. “Castigo’s” real victim may be Spanish film producers. By law, Spanish broadcasters must plow 5% of revenues into film financing. In the past, most coin has gone to movie production – a whopping e112.8 million ($158.9 million) last year. But miniseries and TV movies now also qualify for the 5% quotas. And, from next year, TV movies can receive state subsidies. “Castigo’s” success may encourage broadcasters to divert coin away from movie production and into minis and made-fors.