Mediaset outfit unveils 'Air Cocaine,' 'Way Down'

MADRID — Spanish production company Telecinco Cinema is prepping two English-language pics, helmer Jorge Sanchez Cabezudo’s action thriller “Air Cocaine” and bank heist “Way Down.”

Budgeted around €10 million ($13 million), “Cocaine” turns on a Ghana-based Spanish hustler using commercial airlines for drug runs. After a plane crashes, he finds himself hunted by a Colombian drug cartel, desert tribes and Al Qaeda.

Sanchez Cabezudo (“The Night of the Sunflowers”) is co-writing with brother Alberto.

Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of TV group Mediaset Espana, is also teaming with Eneko Lizarra’s ThinkStudio on “Way Down,” a $15 million-$20 million thriller about British criminals stealing a jewel from Madrid’s Bank of Spain on the day that Spain plays in the finals of the soccer World Cup in South Africa. A director is still to be attached.

“Our idea is to produce international projects with budgets four times lower than U.S. studio films, tapping Spanish directors’ talent,” said Telecinco Cinema CEO Ghislain Barrois.

Telecinco Cinema’s credits include Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible,” with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, which opens Thursday in Spain, and “Tad, the Lost Explorer,” Spain’s most successful toon cuming $16.6 million through Wednesday.

Telecinco is prepping a “Tad” sequel and family adventure toon “Capture the Flag,” teaming with “Tad” producers. Telecinco Cinema will also co-produce projects by Alejandro Amenabar and Enrique Urbizu (“No Rest for the Wicked”).

Obliged by law to plow 3% of revenues into Spanish or European films, Mediaset Espana has invested $559 million in movies, co-producing or pre-buying some 70 features since 1999.

“We’ve finally generated a film studio, a brand that makes sense in Spain and abroad,” Mediaset Espana CEO Paolo Vasile said.

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