One of Spain’s biggest film and TV stars, Casas just underscored his marquee value with Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s teen romance “I Want You,” which grossed a first-five day Euros 4.2 million ($5.25 million) from Friday’s bow.
The film’s first-weekend $4.25 million makes it 2012’s second biggest opener, after “The Avengers,” and the biggest Spanish pic bow, according to Rentrak.
Budgeted at $3.8 million, “Ismael” is set in Barcelona, where it shoots from January. Casas plays a guy whose 10-year-old son tracks him down. Abril limns the child’s grandmother.
“The film turns on the quest for happiness in a family environment, with a similar target to ‘The Descendants’ and ‘The Intouchables,'” said Francisco Ramos, producer at Zeta Cinema.
Ramos, who produced Pineyro’s “The Method” and “Kamchatka,” explained “Ismael” reps “an obsession shared with Pineyro of making a feel-good film.”
Casas starred in the Ramos-produced hits “Sex, Party & Lies,” which scored $5.4 million, 2010’s “Three Meters Above the Sky” ($12.4 million), and sequel “I Want You,” both based on Italian Federico Moccia novels.
A rising international star, Casas commands strong followings in Latin America and Russia, where Carmen Films will release “I Want You,” which is sold by Imagina Intl. Sales, on an ambitious 200 print-run on July 5.
For Abril, a Pedro Almodovar muse in the 1990s, “Ismael” marks a Spanish film comeback after a four-year hiatus.
“Ismael” will be finished by fall 2013.
John Hopewell contributed to this article.