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‘Others’ boosts biz in Spain

Pic now highest-grossing Spanish-backed movie ever in U.S.

MADRID — Scaring up $14.1 million its first weekend, Alejandro Amenabar’s retro chiller “The Others” is now the highest-grossing Spanish-backed movie ever in the U.S.

And it may be a harbinger of bigger things to come from Spain.

While amply aided by Nicole Kidman’s perf, Miramax’s distribution and exec producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, “The Others” was produced in Spain with a Spanish crew by Las Producciones del Escorpion and Sogecine, Sogecable’s pic production arm.

With Barcelona touted as Europe’s new Paris, Iberian talent and pesetas are seeping into Hollywood — and vice versa.

Samuel Goldwyn Films’ took a gamble on Maria Ripoll to helm “Tortilla Soup.” Spanish shingle Filmax lured Anna Paquin to star in Jaume Balaguero’s “The Darkness,” which Dimension co-financed. And Goya-winning helmer Fernando Leon rewrote John Leguizamo vehicle “Esquivel” for Fox Searchlight.

Though Sogecine’s biggest upcoming pics are Spanish-language (Julio Medem’s “Lucia & Sex” preems at Toronto), the company, which has produced more than 60 films since 1991, backs its young helmers’ aspirations to compete in the international arena.

CEO Fernando Bovaira says Sogecine is looking to announce new pics from Spanish helmers in Spanish and English this fall.

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