Broad Green Pictures’ Gabriel and Daniel Hammond are putting their money where their mouth is. Bursting onto the scene at 2014’s Toronto with the proclaimed desire to cultivate talent, and paying a reported $3 million for U.S rights to Andrew Garfield/Michael Shannon-starrer “99 Homes,” from Ramin Bahrani, this weekend Broad Green will put its back behind the U.S. theatrical release of Spaniard Carlos Marques-Marcet’s long-distance love story “10,000 Km,” bowing it in the U.S. on 11 screens in 11 cities.
That may hardly seem a hell of a rollout. But — with one exception, the Weinstein Co. release “Eva” — the last Spanish-language movie from Spain to see such a screen-count bow was “The Orphanage,” getting on eight years ago, which Picturehouse opened on 19 screens in very late 2007, per Pau Brunet, “10,000 Km” exec producer and, in a parallel life, the doyen of Spanish box office analysts at boxoffice.es
“This is pretty much a major release for this kind of movie,” Brunet told Variety.
Picturehouse opened Guillermo del Toro’s Spain-produced “Pan’s Labyrinth” in 2006 on 17 screens to a storming U.S. box office trawl.
But a more normal model for a Spanish-language or indeed foreign-language bow, unless it’s a Mexican title targeting Latino-audiences, is a one-to-three city release, based around New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Brunet pointed out.
Or a long run limited bow: Sony Pictures Classics released “Wild Tales” on four screens Feb. 20, capitalizing on its Oscar nomination, for an excellent $85,100 on its way to $3.1 million domestic gross.
At least two factors drive “10,000 Km’s” far-larger-than-usual release.
One is VOD day-and-dating. Broad Green will also bow Friday on major VOD platforms in the U.S., such as iTunes and Amazon Video On Demand. Showing just how intensely distributors can work U.S. VOD distribution even for a foreign-language film, other platforms are Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon Fios, Cox, Charter On Demand, Dish, Mediacom, Insight, RCN, Armstrong, SuddenLink, Cablevision, Wow! And in Canada Rogers On Demand, Shaw and EastlinkTV. Here, a 11-screen theatrical opening, taking in 11 major cities, helps it gain visibility for the title.
A second factor is the Hammond brothers’ aim to support and bring on new talent. “10,000” marks the feature debut of Carlos Marques-Marcet, an early movie from LA Panda. BGP already backed “10,000 Km’s” campaign to snag a Spanish Academy Oscar submission, with the title making the final-three-title-cut to become’s Spain’s entry. For “10,000 Km,” it has hired Cinetic Media to handle marketing, Brigade for PR.
The jury is, of course, still out on just how “10,000 Km’s” box office or indeed VOD play will play out. But it does have several factors in its favor.
Both portrait and product — produced by Barcelona’s Lastor Media and LA Panda, a L.A. production house headed by young Spanish emigres – of the diaspora of Spain’s newest and brightest talent abroad, “10,000 Km” centers on a couple in their early 30s, Sergio and Alexandra, who are trying to sustain a long-distance relationship, with Sergio in Barcelona and Alex in L.A. Their reliance on virtual technology – Skype, text messaging — proves as much of a barrier as a lifeline.
“10,000’s” U.S. bow comes eight days before 2015’s Platino Awards where “10,000” has scored a nomination for first feature. On paper, arguably with Matias Lucchesi’s “Natural Sciences,” which topped Mexico’s 2014 Guadalajara Fest, it weighs in as a category frontrunner.
Title has already won a string of fest plaudits, including a 2014 AFI Fest Audience Award, Seattle IFF best new director and grand jury prize kudos, and SXSW special jury recognition for best acting duo of Natalia Tena (“Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones”) and David Verdaguer (“Cracovia”).
Per Brunet, the cinemas carefully chosen by Broad Green are classic arthouses – NYC’s IFC Center 5, L.A.’s Sundance Sunset Cinemas, Miami’s Miami Dade College Tower Theater, San Francisco’s 4-Star Theater — with significant moviegoer fanbases.
The major challenge for “10,000 Km” may not be very different from that for most other indie movies opening in the U.S.: Thanks to multiple new distributor entrants, the sector is a much-more crowded space than just a few years back. “10,000 Km” opens the same day as “Tangerine,” another L.A. indie movie with critical backing.