First three installments grossed $68.7 million

Warner Bros. Pictures has taken Spanish theatrical and DVD distribution rights to one of Spain’s surest-fire hits, the fourth entry in its blockbuster “Torrente” franchise, written and directed by and starring Santiago Segura.

“Torrente 4” will be produced by Amiguetes Entertainment, Segura’s Madrid-based production label, and Antena 3 Films, the film production arm of broadcaster Antena 3, which will broadcast the film in Spain.

Segura is currently penning the screenplay, with production likely for a late 2010 or early 2011 bow, said Mercedes Gamero, CEO of Antena 3 Films.

A box office phenomenon in Spain, the “Torrente” pics feature the misadventures of Jose Luis Torrente, a bumbling ex-cop played by Segura. The first three installments grossed a combined e51.2 million ($68.7 million) in Spain.

An English-language remake is set up at New Line.

The franchise also is a cult item among Hollywood directors: Oliver Stone, John Landis and Guillermo del Toro, a Segura mentor, all made cameo appearances in “Torrente 3: The Protector.”

WB’s pickup of “Torrente” continues its active involvement in Spanish cinema both as a distributor and more occasional producer.

As a distributor of Spanish films in Spain, WB’s enjoyed the biggest B.O. market share of any distributor over the last three years, handling “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “The Oxford Murders,” “Volver” and the just-released “Broken Embraces.”

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