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True story cashes in at the Colombian B.O.

'Dream' outpaces 'Dead Man's Chest' at local box office

A pic based on real events, “Sonar no cuesta nada” (To Dream Costs Nothing), is outpacing “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” in Colombia as auds opt for Rodrigo Triana’s ripped-from-the-headlines $384,000 dramedy over Disney’s multimillion-dollar blockbuster.

“Sonar” has been No. 1 at the Colombian box office since it opened Aug. 11, generating 600,000 admissions. “Pirates” has lured the same number despite opening a week earlier and on 20 more screens.

Last weekend, “Sonar” sold 100,000 tickets, while “Pirates” trailed in third place with 26,900. “Sonar” also outgunned “The Sentinel,” “Monster House,” “The Break-Up” and “Silent Hill” last week.

At this rate, pic is likely to outdo last year’s local boffo hit, “Rosario tijeras,” which scored 1.07 million admissions. It may even beat the all-time record held by “La estrategia del caracol” (The Snail’s Stratagem), which snagged 1.5 million in 1994.

“Sonar” is based on events that began in May 2003, when more than 140 soldiers stumbled upon a stash of $46 million hidden in the jungle by Colombia’s FARC guerillas. Instead of giving the money to the government, the soldiers went on a spending spree. Some who were caught drew sentences of as much as 10 years in jail, some soldiers are still in hiding, and the ongoing trials of others still dominate headlines.

Colombia’s leading producer, Clara Maria Ocho Prods., produced the pic. CMO also backed hits “Rosario Tijeras” and “Bolivar, soy yo.”

“With hits like these, we’re hoping to get Colombians to get back into the habit of seeing their own homegrown films,” said Carlos Llano, head of the pic’s distrib, Cine Colombia. The number of local releases in the country has risen to an average of seven or eight, up from an abysmal two just five years ago.

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