Spanish duo top local box office

'Cell 211,' 'Agora' nab top two slots in Spain

Two Spanish movies are rewriting recent B.O. record books in the territory.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Amenabar’s Roman Egypt epic “Agora,” with Rachel Weisz, put in a muscular fifth frame of $1.7 million, lifting its total haul in Spain to an eye-catching $27.75 million.

With Madrid enjoying an Almudena patron saint’s day holiday Monday, both figures are provisional.

What seems certain, however, is that “Cell 211” and “Agora” will top Spanish charts. “The Box,” by the same preliminary count, was on track for a first weekend of $1.2 million.

On only one other occasion since 2001 have two films by Spanish directors sat atop the Spanish B.O. — during Jan. 25-27, 2008, with Miguel Bardem’s “Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Save the Planet” and Alex de la Iglesia’s “The Oxford Murders.”

Spanish films — “REC2” over Oct. 2-4, “Agora” for four weeks, and now “Cell 211” — have topped the B.O. for six weeks running. That’s only happened once since 2001, with “The Orphanage’s” six-week chart-topping run in 2007.

As on “Agora,” “Cell 211” has benefited from a huge campaign by Telecinco, one of Spain’s biggest broadcast nets.

“The marketing push has been spectacular. Telecinco’s really put its back behind ‘Cell,’ ” said Isabel Garcia, programmer at Catalonia’s Acec multiplex chain.

“And online word-of-mouth has been very, very active.”

“Agora” could well become one of the all-time top-five Spanish films at local wickets.

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