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Par, UIP add to ‘Tad’ trove in Latin America

Worldwide gross tops $40 mil on Spanish toon

MEXICO CITY — Spanish toonpic “Tad, the Lost Explorer,” about a young construction worker who ends up as an archeologist discovering hidden treasure in Peru, is unearthing gold in Latin America helped by the studio muscle of Hollywood distribs Paramount Pictures Intl. and UIP.

Bowing “Tad” Aug. 31 in Spain to a stellar $3.6 million gross, Paramount swooped on a further 13 territories, 12 in Latin America.

Now it’s payback time. Opening Feb. 1, “Tad” grossed $6.1 million in Mexico through Feb. 24. In Peru, “Tad” has dug up a chart-topping first 10-day trawl of $1.5 million. Also opening No. 1 in Chile, “Tad” has mined $691,652 for UIP. It is also No. 1 in Ecuador.

“Tad’s” total worldwide trawl through Feb. 24 stood at just above $40 million, said producer-screenwriter Jordi Gasull at El Toro Pictures, which produced “Tad” with Telecinco Cinema, helmer Enrique Gato’s Lightbox Entertainment, Ikiru Films and Media Networks.

“Tad” has also struck gold in Holland, where it powered up 74% in its soph sesh for $797,359. It’s run for months in parts of China. U.S. rights are held by Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.

Hollywood toons traditionally play well in Latin America where families flock to multiplexes.

“‘Tad’ is classic family adventure entertainment. It has nothing to get parents worried,” said Gasull.

Finding a niche opportunity for indie toon fare is also key. Bowing “Tad” in early February, PPI missed Latin America’s peak-summer cinemagoing, sidestepping competition from Hollywood toon juggernauts.

“Tad” will open the three-day Cartoon Movie, Europe’s biggest toon co-production forum, in Lyon, France, on Wednesday.

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