Ambition goosed by 'Impossible,' 'Tad' success

SAN SEBASTIAN — Spain’s Telecinco Cinema, a driving force behind some of the most ambitious films that have come out of Europe of late — think “Che,” “Agora” and “The Impossible” — has set its gameplan for a 2013 production slate.

In the mix: Two larger English-language movies around Euros10 million-Euros15 million ($12.9 million-$19.3 million), a double animation bill, including a “Tad, The Lost Explorer” sequel, and at least three comedy pics.

Outlined by Telecinco Cinema CEO Ghislain Barrois at the San Sebastian festival, the slate is being firmed up as the company celebrates the European premiere of Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible,” with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and as a second Telecinco Cinema co-production, toon pic “Tad, the Lost Explorer,” cumed Euros $14.4 million through Sept. 23, a head-turning result for Spain.

With “The Impossible” bowing to huge expectation at San Sebastian, and opening Oct. 11 in Spain via Warners, Telecinco Cinema has an odds-on chance of co-producing Spain’s two biggest hits of 2012.

“The Impossible” and “Tad” establish “a clear line of the type of movie we have to be involved with in the future,” Barrois enthused.

Topping Spanish B.O. charts four weeks in a row, the Paramount-distributed “Tad” dropped just 6% Sept. 21-23.

“That’s an incredible result,” said Barrois.

Two factors are at play: “‘Tad’s’ a very well-rounded movie, very well-made; also, Mediaset Espana gave it a colossal promotion, fighting for it with all its might on its seven TV channels.”

Co-produced with Apaches, “The Impossible” meanwhile weighs into San Sebastian off Toronto as one of the three or four titles at the Canadian mega-fest being talked up as an Oscar contender.

“The success of ‘The Impossible’ and ‘Tad’ is helping. Everybody wants to work with us internationally, all the majors, all the doors are open. On the other hand, we have to deliver,” Barrois said.

Now in development, Telecinco Cinema’s two major English-language movies will both be directed by Spaniards.

“One of the risks of doing projects in English for the international market is you increase the international potential but you decrease the Spanish one. The tremendous challenge consists of trying to do both,” Barrois said.

Meanwhile, “Tad” producers — Telecinco Cinema, El Toro Pics, Ikiru Films and Lightbox Ent. — are working on ideas for a “Tad” sequel.

Of immediate projects, Patxi Amezcua’s thriller “7th Floor,” starring Ricardo Darin and Belen Rueda, shoots in Buenos Aires from November, having punched strong pre-sales, including with Fox Intl. for North America, Latin America and Spain.

Gibraltar Straits-set action thriller “El Nino,” re-teaming helmer Daniel Monzon with thesp Luis Tosar after 2009 sleeper “Cell 211,” rolls from early spring.

Studiocanal-sold, “Nino” co-stars Sergi Lopez (“Map of the Sounds of Tokyo”).

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