Xpand nabs Spanish rights to 3D pics

SolotresD to release 'Mulan,' 'Bait,' 'Living Dead'

MADRID — Upping its distribution business, digital 3D company Xpand has inked with Arclight Films to take rights to Spain and former Yugoslavian territories on 3D features “Mulan,” Disney’s live-action version of the 1998 toon, and shark adventure “Bait.”

Both will be released in 2011.

Xpand has also acquired the 3D remastered and colored version of George A. Romero’s classic horror pic “Night of the Living Dead” from San Diego production facility Passmore Lab.

In Spain, Xpand’s distribution operation will be run by the just-launched distrib SolotresD. Xpand has a majority stake in SolotresD, partnering with local companies including Ignacio Puebla’s consultancy Vercine.

With offices in California, Slovenia and Israel, Spain marks Xpand’s move into bigger European countries.

Barcelona-based SolotresD aims to distribute six films a year in theaters while also controlling DVD and TV rights.

SolotresD will make its market debut Feb. 12 with animated pic, “Garfield’s Pet Force 3D.” “Battle for Terra 3D,” bought from L.A.-based IM Global, will be released April 23.

SolotresD’s main film launch for next year will be “Around the World in 50 Years,” from European 3D film pioneer nWave Pictures, planned for next fall on more than 300 screens.

If the market opens enough 3D screens, we will bet on 3D releases alone,” said Puebla, who manages the new distrib’s day-to-day affairs.

Spain has 200 digital 3D screens, 5% of the total number of screens in the country, and that number is growing fast.

In a first phase, the extra tech costs of 3D force producers to make only commercially strong films. In the future, more specialized 3D titles may also find a niche thanks to digital multi-programming,” Puebla added.

In this sense, the acquisition of “Night of the Living Dead” looks like a test for smaller 3D film circuits.

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