U.S. top foreign market for Spanish films

MADRID — Box office for Spanish movies in foreign markets leapt 100% last year to €185 million ($233 million), powered by films by world-class auteurs produced or co-produced out of Spain.

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” which was produced by Spain’s Mediapro and New York’s Gravier Prods., drove much of that international trawl, grossing $126 million last year outside Spain, Pedro Perez, prexy of Spanish producers‘ association Fapae, announced Wednesday at an industry brunch during the Spanish Film Screenings.

“Midnight’s” cume runs at $162 million worldwide.

Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” punched around $44 million last year, ranking No. 2 in international B.O.

At the Fapae brunch, “Skin” producer Agustin Almodovar picked up the Fapae-Rentrak 2012 Prize for the Spanish film with the biggest international impact last year.

Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful” and Spaniard Guillem Morales’ “Julia’s Eyes” all grossed north of €5 million ($6.35 million) outside of Spain, sometimes substantially so, Fapae noted.

B.O. results are for 19 countries surveyed by Rentrak. The international B.O. of Spanish films doubled their home-turf B.O. of $117.2 million in 2011.

North America, with a total $63 million gross, was the biggest overseas market last year for Spanish films, rolling off “Midnight’s” $56.4 million U.S. gross.

France ($27.7 million), Italy ($18.9 million), Germany ($18.7 million), Brazil ($15.4 million) and Mexico ($10.1 million) were also top markets.

Spanish films’ total foreign trawl was 46% of French films’ $510 million total gross outside France last year.

The big question the figures pose, however, is what foreign B.O. was notched up by most of the 110 Spanish films with theatrical runs outside Spain last year.

Spanish producers need the ir movies’ international B.O. to rise.

Whammied by funding uncertainties, through April, Spanish production levels fells 36% in Spain. After that, they are 17% down, said Gonzalo Salazar Simpson, prexy of the AEC producers’ association.

Given contracting film finance possibilities in Spain, “our only choice is to go abroad, in sales, production and thinking,” said Salazar Simpson.

Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article.

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