Spain’s Filmax Group is readying a slew of movies, plus an international co-production strategy that would consolidate its position as Barcelona’s biggest integrated film company.

“We’re studying taking equity positions on some $50 million-plus projects, which we would have just distributed in the past. We would then handle Spain and could manage international sales,” says Filmax prexy Julio Fernandez.

“We’d like to be involved in international co-productions with capacity for decision on financing, content and casting,” he adds.

In another ambitious announcement, Fernandez says Filmax will shift the long-mooted medieval live-action epic “Captain Thunder” into a “Lord of the Rings”-style trilogy. First-episode helmer will be revealed at Mifed, Fernandez declares.

Filmax’s English-lingo “Darkness” — the second pic from Jaume Balaguero (“Nameless”) and a Dimension pickup for the U.S. — will world preem at October’s Sitges Intl. Film Festival of Catalonia.

International co-production would also allow Filmax early entry on big-budget pics.

With Sogecable and Telefonica planning to merge their digital TV platforms, which already have full inventories, Spanish distributors’ thinking is that, of indie fare, only standout big-budget movies will be picked up by the single platform’s joint premium channel.

As Spanish distribution comes under more financial pressure, Fernandez’s declarations are a gauntlet thrown down to competitors that Filmax has the wherewithal to raise the ante on productions and acquisitions.

Like other Barcelona-based prodcos, Filmax taps Catalan state-engineered credit facilities.

But the future for ambitious distributors runs with courting hefty finance facilities or financing partners, and a branching out from distribution to production.

A Euro mini-major, Filmax’s tentacles reach video and DVD distribution, cinema ownership and live-action and animated pic production, often under the Fantastic Factory horror-pic banner, which Fernandez runs with director-producer Brian Yuzna (“Re-Animator,” “Crying Freeman”).

Other upcoming projects:

  • “Palabras encadenadas,” a thriller, lensing late this year from Laura Mana (“Compassionate Sex”).

  • New features from Filmax Animation, medieval classic “El Cid, the Legend,” which is at Cannes, plus intergalactic fantasy “Pinocchio 3001,” “Don Quijote de la Mancha” and 3D “Nocturna,” “which is aimed at helping children get over their fear of darkness,” says Fernandez.

  • TV-industry set “La irada” from Alex Calvo Sotelo (“Se buscan fulmontis”).

  • “The Bell Chimed 13,” co-produced by Continental, Tornasol Films and Ensueno, directed by Xavier Villaverde and starring Juan Diego Botto, Luis Tosar, Elvira Minguez and Laura Mana.

  • The Benito Rabal-directed “El furgon.”

  • Fantastic Factory genre pics including Brian Yuzna’s “Beyond Reanimator” and Chuck Parello’s “Romasanta.”

  • From Fantastic Discovery, a new directors label, comes Paco Plaza’s “Second Name” and Nacho Cerda’s “Oblivion.”