Antena 3 invests $43 mil in Euro fare

Increase reps 43% rise on 2004 budget

MADRID — Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 announced Wednesday that it will plough EUR33 million ($43 million) into Spanish or European films and TV movies over 2005, up 43% from its 2004 budget, per company estimates.

The move is unlikely to imply a downscaling in big Hollywood movie buys. It reps Antena 3’s grudging acceptance of newly ratified broadcaster quotas obliging TV operators to invest 5% of their annual turnover in Spanish or Euro movies.

The local pic investment also complements Antena 3’s drive to become known as Spain’s major movie broadcaster.

Per Tedy Villalba, Antena 3’s director of fiction and film projects, all the Spanish and Euro films will be broadcast on primetime movie slots El Peliculon and Cinematrix.

Set against the 2004 budget, Antena 3’s 2004/2005 slate is unabashedly commercial:

— Antena 3 has acquired free-to-air rights to anticipated 2005 releases such as Santiago Segura’s near cert blockbuster “Torrente III,” “Fragile,” from Jaume Balaguero (“Darkness”), Warner Bros production “Reinas,” (Queens) and “Princesas” from Fernando Leon (“Mondays In the Sun”).

— The DeAPlaneta controlled web will co-produce the $7.9 million English-lingo TV movie “La Bella Otero,” teaming with Endemol Espana, Spanish prodco ICC, France’s Nelka and Italy’s Solaris Cinematografica.

— Co-productions include Roberto Santiago’s “El penalti mas largo del mundo,” a soccer comedy, Julio Sanchez Valdes’ pre-historic spoof, “El ultimo neardental” with Lazona Films, and the Drimtim Ent. TV movie “Crusader.”