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‘Presunto’ pulled from Mexico theaters

Pic holds B.O. record for a documentary

MEXICO CITY — Cinepolis Distribution pulled controversial docu “Presumed Guilty” (Presunto Culpable) from theaters Monday evening under direct orders from Mexico’s Radio, Television and Film Directorate (RTC).

The docu centers around a broken judicial system that wrongfully accused a 26-year-old vidgame repairman Antonio Zuniga of a killing that took place over a mile from where dozens of witnesses were watching him work. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Opening Feb. 18, the boffo doc has pulled in 43.3 million pesos ($3.6 million), selling nearly 1 million tickets. The figure puts it far past “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which held the previous Mexican B.O. record for a documentary at $2.2 million.

What had already become a fast-spreading word-of-mouth campaign exploded with the news that the film might be pulled.

The pic more than doubled its 13-day take in the days following last Wednesday’s announcement that Federal Judge Blanca Lobo had ordered a temporary suspension of the film after a key figure in the pic said he did not give permission to use his image — pulling in $1.9 million in the last five days alone.

Lawyers for the film and Cinepolis exhausted appeals to stop the suspension on Monday, despite backing from President Felipe Calderon’s administration.

This weekend, it unspooled on 200 prints in 21 cities and took the top spot in terms of per-screen totals.

Cinepolis’ lawyers said they are confident that the film will soon be back in theaters.

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