Ricardo Darin's B.O. Appeal Proves Inter-Continental

MADRID – Universal Pictures Intl.’s “Thesis on a Homicide” grossed an impressive first-week take of Euros755,844 ($992,423) off 219 prints over April 5-11 in Spain, vindicating U’s pick-up of the film.

The results were a feat of Darin-do:  Ricardo Darin has a big marquee value in his native Argentina, but clearly has a big following in other countries. That’s partly due to his talent and charm, but also in his choice of films. He is known to be discriminating, so his name is a signal of quality.

Darin, 56, is best known for Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar-winning “The Secret of Their Eyes,” which earned $6.4 million for Sony Pictures Classics in 2010.

“Secret” grossed Euros6.3 million ($8.25 million) for indie distrib Alta Films in Spain in 2009.

Darin has also hitched his wagon to some of Argentina’s finest directorial talent, such as Fabian Bielinsky (“Nine Queens, “El Aura”), Pablo Trapero (“Carancho,” “White Elephant”) and Campanella.

Darin next appears in “7th Floor,” a full-on thriller about a father (Darin) desperately searching for his children.

Fox International acquired rights to North America, Latin America and Spain on “7th Floor” at Cannes; Film Factory has pre-sold German-speaking Europe to Ascot Elite, Bac Films France.

“Ricardo Darin’s presence in a film helps spark pre-sales. He’s one of South America’s only actors who can open a film in territories abroad,” said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

A Disney release in Argentina, and already Argentina’s biggest local hit since 2009’s “Eyes,” “Thesis” pitches Darin as a criminologist university lecturer obsessed with the possibility a student (Alberto Amman) has raped and murdered a woman.

The actor will also appear in one seg of multi-part “Relatos salvajes,” helmed by Damian Szifron (“On Probation”), co-produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo in Spain and K & S in Argentina. “Relatos” is currently rolling, with Warner Bros. taking distribution rights for all Latin America. It is not likely to remain for long on the open market.

The Almodovars boarded “Relatos” because they wanted to work with Szifron. That said, “Having Ricardo in your film gives you an immediate marketing hook and the possibility of co-producing the film with Spain,” said “Relatos” producer Esther Garcia, at El Deseo.

“7th Floor,” for example, is co-produced by Argentina’s K & S and Cepa Audiovisual and Telecinco Cinema, Ikiru Films and El Toro Pictures in Spain.

Maybe the biggest challenge with Darin is attaching him to a film in the first place. What will he do after “Relatos”? “Nothing, absolutely nothing, please write that in upper case,” he told the Spanish press, tub-thumping “Thesis.”

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article

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