Columbia goes intl. with contentious pic

'Crime of Father Amaro' breaks Mexican B.O.

SAN SEBASTIAN — Columbia TriStar Films Distributors Intl. has taken international rights outside North America, Spain and Mexico on controversial Mexican B.O. smash-hit “The Crime of Father Amaro.”

Directed by Carlos Carrera, “Crime” is the highest-grossing Mexican film ever, having taken $13.6 million in four weeks off a near 400-screen launch.

It 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.

Pic was produced by Alfredo Ripstein’s Alameda Films, with international partners Wanda Vision in Spain, ArtCam Intl. in France, and Argentina’s CineColor.

Reactionary Catholic groups in Mexico tub-thumped the film’s prohibition, helping to boost admissions.

Samuel Goldwyn Films holds North American rights to “Crime.” Columbia TriStar already had rights to Mexico and Jose Maria Morales’ Wanda has Spain.

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