MADRID — In further bellwether deals, Germany’s Concorde, Italy’s Movies Inspired and China’s Joy Pictures have pre-bought “Campeones” (Champions), a comedy-drama from Academy Award-nominated Javier Fesser (“Binta and the Great Idea”).
Sold by Madrid-based Latido Films, “Champions” will receive its market premiere at the Berlinale’s European Film Market which kicks off Feb. 15 in the German capital.
Produced by two major forces in Spain’s film industry – Morena Films (“Altamira,” “Cell 211,” “Comandante”) and Telefonica pay TV division Movistar + (“Tadeo Jones 2,” “Dragonkeeper”) as well as Luis Manso at Fesser’s Películas Pendleton, “Champions” has also been licensed to Switzerland’s Praesens.
Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte announced last September that it had acquired French distribution rights; Universal Pictures International (UPI) will release “Champions” in Spain.
Written by Fesser and writer-director David Marqués, a best film Fipresci Prize winner for “Aislados” at the London Film Festival, “Champions” embodies the strong line often pursued by Fesser in choral comedy, incorrigible individuals, and movies often wide audience appeal: “Mortadelo & Filemon: The Big Adventure” garnered €22.9 million ($25.0 million) in Spain in 2003.
In Fesser’s latest, Javier Gutiérrez (“Marshland,” “Spanish Shame”), who won a best actor Spanish Academy Goya on Saturday night for “The Motive,” plays an assistant coach in Spain’s top ACB basketball league who has reached the end of his emotional tether. Needing drastically a new sense of direction in life he brawls with the head coach, get drunk, crashes his car and end up in court, where he is sentenced to social work that will make good use of one thing still left to hi: His basketful coaching skills. The sentence proves his salvation.
The film distribution arm of Germany’s Tele Muenchen Group, Concorde acquires across a broad range of titles from drama such as “The Iron Lady,” to upscale comedy such as Dany Boon’s upcoming “The Ch’tite Famille.”
Launched in 2007, Stefano Jacono’s Movies Inspired buys adventurously across a spectrum from high-profile arthouse – Oscar nominated Berlin Golden Bear winner “On Body and Soul” – to crossovers, such as Wim Wenders’ “Submergence.” Up-and-running from 2014, and purchasing for mainland China, Joy Pictures distributed “La La Land.”
“Champions” marks Le Pacte’s third recent Latido title after Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s harrowing Madrid-set serial killer thriller “May God Save Us,” which sold 199,991 tickets (an impressive $1.7 million in box office gross) from an August release, and the upcoming political corruption thriller “The Kingdom,” also from Sorogoyen, which it co-produces.
UPI was the No. 1 box office champ in Spain for three years in a row over 2014-2016, thanks to its distribution of Spanish titles: Culture clash comedies “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2” and “A Monster Calls.”