2014 marks milestone export year for Spanish movies
MADRID – Auguring a potential new phenomenon, the Spain-Latin America B.O. crossover, Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales” won the FAPAE-Rentrak 2015 award at the 9th Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings for the best Spanish movie export of 2014.
Produced out of Spain by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar and Esther Garcia at El Deseo and Hugo Sigman and Matias Mosteirin at K & S Films in Argentina, and co-produced by Telefe-Telefonica Studios, “Wild Tales” was sold by Vicente Canales’ Film Factory to 48 countries. A Cannes Competition player that swept July’s Platino Awards, “Wild Tales” was a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pick-up, and a Warner Bros. release in Latin America, Spain and – unusually for a Spanish-language film – France.
Made for the Spanish film of the past year with most international impact, FAPAE-Rentrak Prize is recognition of the strategy of film’s producers and Canales of standing form when they first brought “Wild Tales” onto the pre-sales market at Cannes in 2013 and not accepting below the going price offers until reception at Cannes Competition in 2014 “revolutionized” buyers’ interest, as Agustin Almodovar has said in the past.
“Film’s co-production structure allowed us to realize all the film’s potential,” Almodovar said Wednesday at Madrid de Cine.
Also Academy Award nominated, “Wild Tales” has proved the precursor of a new, if still highly select, bread of powerful crossover movies that are emerging in Latin America and Spain: Alberto Rodriguez’s “Marshland,” Pablo Trapero’s abduction thriller “The Clan,” which, reteaming most of “Wild Tales” backers, has sold 2.7 million tickets for Fox in Argentina from a Aug. 13 bow, Lucrecia Martel’s existential epic “Zama,” now in post production, again co-produced by El Deseo; and Pablo Larrain’s upcoming “Neruda,” a powerfully-selling Chile-Argentina-France co-pro.
Powerful art films with more mainstream tropes and wider audience ambitions, they boast amped-up budgets, multiple partner co-production structures, often-star presence or star directors, big fest potential, vfx or action scenes, sometimes use of genre to drive narrative.
“Wild Tales” plaudit, maybe the last of its career, came as Ramon Colom announced that Spanish films punched €186.4 million ($199.5 million) outside Spain in 2014, per Rentrak figures, 23.8% up on 2012, the last year for which figures are available. Added to Spanish movies’ €131.8 million ($141.0 million) in Spain, when local movies in Spain grabbed a 25.5% share, their best result since 1977, Spanish movies’ total €318.2 million ($340.5 million) 2014 trawl marks a modern milestone.
The total 15,280 copy run of Spanish films’ abroad is 7.6% up on 2012, almost 70% up on 2011, said Ramon Colom, FAPAE prexy.
“The international interest in Spanish films’ continues to increase,” he added.
In a turn-up for the stat books, at a time when Latin American producers and film authorities lament that Latin American films rarely travel beyond their country of origin in Latin America, Latin America overhauled Europe (outside Spain) as Spain’s premier film market. That is not only in terms of total gross (€66.2 million: $70.8 million), which could be explained in part by “Wild Tales’” $17.5 million in Argentina, but also, more surprisingly, in terms of the number of releases, repping 45.4% of all international bows. Italy, with 36 theatrical openings, was Spain’s biggest single-territory market, followed by Mexico (30), Colombia (25), South Korea (23) and Argentina (22). France saw only 16 releases.
The major challenge for Spanish films, as indeed all foreign-language movies, is to run up significant box office outside their country of origin. “Wild Tales” grossed $3.1 million for Sony Pictures Classics, about $3.4 million in France. The number of Spanish movies punching over $1 million in any year in international territory is highly limited, however.
Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report