Deal sets ballpark figures for uptick in Catalan prints

The Hollywood majors and the government of Catalonia, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, have agreed a peace pact over the thorny issue of dubbing studio pics into the Catalan language.

The studios refused to release any films in the region from November to July, after a new audiovisual law stipulated that half the print run had to be dubbed or subtitled into the local language.

That law still lacks detailed regulation allowing it to come into force.

Studios have agreed to release 25 movies on an average 25 Catalan-dubbed print run across 50 screens in Catalonia in a two-year experiment. Last year, the studios released five Catalan-dubbed movies on an average 15 prints. The region’s Exhibitors Union also agreed the deal.

In general, movies dubbed into Catalan will be toons, family fare and blockbusters, Luis Hernandez de Carlos, prexy of Spanish distrib lobby Fedicine told Daily Variety. The Catalan-dubbed titles will play at theaters with three or more screens, ensuring that they are not dumped in sparsely populated locations. The pact will include Sony’s “The Adventures of Tintin” the Paramount-released “Puss in Boots” and Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

At a joint Catalan government-Fedicine news conference, Felix Riera, director of the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries, estimated the new deal could raise spectators for Catalan-dubbed studio fare from 117,471 in 2010 to 1.5 million in 2012. But nobody knows quite how this will play out. Hernandez de Carlos said the parties will review the results after two years and then decide how to move on from there.

(John Hopewell in Madrid contributed to this report.)

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