Gato's family adventure toon bows Sept. 7

MADRID Paramount Pictures Spain has acquired theatrical and DVD rights to Spanish family adventure toon “Tad, the Lost Explorer — 3D,” which it will bow Sept. 7.

Boasting Spanish production pedigree — Telecinco Cinema (“Agora,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Orphanage”), El Toro (“Lope”) and Ikiru (“Biutiful”) feature among producers — “Tad” weighs in as Spain’s biggest animation bet of 2012.

Telefonica Prods. co-produces, continuing a film-by-film partnership with Jordi Gasull’s El Toro and Edmon Roch’s Ikiru.

Toon is directed by Enrique Gato, a Spanish Academy Goya winner for “Tad” shorts in 2006 and 2008.

Pic chronicles the efforts of Tad, who’s mistaken for an Indiana Jones-ish archeologist, to save ancient Peru from dastardly treasure hunters.

Gaul’s Studiocanal has acquired distribution rights to France, Germany and the U.K., and has sold “Tad” to 24 countries to date.

3D/animation has given Paramount Pictures Spain its biggest recent hits.

Bowing Nov. 25 on a 669 screens, and offering Spaniards a winning performance by Antonio Banderas, “Puss in Boots” grossed €16.6 million ($21.6 million) in Spain to become one of the country’s rare barnstorming releases of 2011.

Opening Feb. 24, “Hugo” grossed a highly creditable $7.5 million, and still counting.

However, Spanish families hit by the economic crisis can’t afford to go to the cinema, let alone pay premium upticks for 3D.

But, said Gasull, “There’s a growing niche for non-studio produced family entertainment. ‘Tad’ is an attempt to make animation that travels worldwide.”

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