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Telenovela gets a kick out of games

'Sos mi vida' stars head to Germany to film scenes

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s media executives are embracing World Cup fever as the soccer-mad nation follows its team in the month-long tourney that ends July 9.

Production company Pol-ka and broadcaster Canal 13 flew the stars of “Sos mi vida” (You’re My Life) to Germany, which is hosting the tourney, to film scenes of the hit telenovela during Argentina’s 6-0 win against Serbia-Montenegro on June 16. The episodes aired last week, helping the program surge in the ratings against reruns of “Casados con hijos,” a local adaptation of “Married … With Children” on rival web Telefe.

Ideas del Sur has shifted production of “Showmatch,” a popular variety program that airs nightly on Canal 13, to Germany. Cuatro Cabezas has sent a 30-strong team to cover the tournament for its satirical weekly news roundup “Caiga quien caiga” on Telefe in Argentina and “Nos pierde la fama” (We Lost Fame) on Canal 4 in Spain.

The five leading networks — the others are America TV, Canal 9 and pubcaster Canal 7 — have divvied up rights for live coverage in a country that stops when Argentina plays.

Films execs aren’t as enthusiastic. With matches in the morning, midday and afternoon, attendance slumped when Argentina played the Ivory Coast on Saturday, June 10, says Sebastian Valenzuela, general manager of exhib Village Cinemas in Argentina.

According to EDI, attendance slumped to 402 that weekend, but recovered to a seasonal average of 611,000 the following weekend when Argentina didn’t play.

With the team already advancing out of pool play, further success could cut into box office receipts during the holidays, normally a boffo time as kids flock to theaters. “Cars” and local toon “Patoruzito, la gran aventura” (Patoruzito, the Great Adventure), will be released June 29, ahead of the Cup’s quarterfinals.

Bernardo Zupnik, prexy of Argentina’s biggest indie distrib, Distribution Co., says femme-skewed films like Radu Mihaileanu’s “Go, See and Become” are doing well.

Would it be better if Argentina lost? No, say the equally soccer-mad film execs.

“We want Argentina to do well and for people go to the movies. That would be best,” Valenzuela says.

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