‘Padre’ nabs B.O. crown in Mexico

Controversial pic nabs $13.6 mil over four weeks

MEXICO CITY — Carlos Carrera’s “El Crimen del Padre Amaro” (The Crime of Father Amaro) has broken B.O. records for a local production in Mexico. Pic, which opened Aug. 16, has grossed $13.6 million in four weeks.

“El Crimen” tells the story of a young Catholic priest, played by Gael Garcia Bernal (“Y tu mama tambien”), who impregnates a teenage girl and then encourages her to have an abortion.

The film was made for $1.8 million by Mexico City-based Alameda Films, with co-production partners Wanda Films of Spain, France’s ArtCam, CineColor of Argentina and Mexican film institute Imcine.

Pic was the subject of a heated pre-release controversy as some Catholic groups and bishops called for a ban — generating massive publicity for the production.

“El Crimen” smashed the previous high mark of $12.6 million set by Antonio Serrano’s comedy “Sexo, Pudor y Lagrimas” (Sex, Shame and Tears) in 1999. “Sexo” took 20 weeks to reach that point.

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