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‘7th Floor’ Goes Boffo in Argentina

Darin, Rueda starrer a text-book case of Argentine-Spanish co-production

SAN SEBASTIAN – A big overseas bet for Fox, which acquired rights to North America, Latin America and Spain at Cannes in 2012, Argentine-Spanish thriller “7th Floor” is raking in boffo coin in Argentina.

As San Sebastian girds up for its 2nd Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum, this second high-profile Argentina-Spain 2013 release – like San Sebastian opener “Foosball” before it – speaks well for the future of select cross-Atlantic tie-ups, especially movies working an Argentina-Spain groove.

Starring Argentina’s Ricardo Darin (“The Secret in Their Eyes,” “Chinese Take-Away”) and Spain’s Belen Rueda (“The Orphanage”), “7th Floor” has gone near through the roof, grossing a first-13-day Pesos19.9 million ($3.4 million) throughTuesday.

Released by Fox, “7th Floor” will make a first fortnight $3.75 million in Argentina, and counting, estimated producer Matias Mosteirin, at Buenos Aires-based K & S.

Its continued theatrical run in Argentina is assured for the next few weeks, he added.

Various factors explain the boffo bow, Mosteirin argued. Ricardo Darin is “popular and prestigious, people trust his taste in films”; “7th Floor’s” thriller format is “attractive, suspenseful, different”; Fox’s big bow on 220 screens, and “great” marketing; promotion by Argentine broadcaster Telefe.

The thriller stars Darin as a separated father who loses his children in his ex’s apartment block and begins an increasingly desperate search to find them.

“7th Floor” is the second feature of Spaniard Patxi Amezcua, after he caught attention with “25 Carat,” which was included in 2009’s Variety Critics’ Choice,

With every partner bringing something to the table, “7th Floor” is “ a business and production model which must be repeated,” per Mosteirin.

In a get-go talent mix, “7th Floor” originated at Spaniard Andres Longares’ Buenos Aires-based Cepa Audiovisual. Amezcua co-wrote the screenplay with Argentina’s Alejo Flah, a scribe on Juan Jose Campanella’s TV series “Vientos de agua.” Longares brought in Jordi Gasull’s El Toro Pics and Edmon Roch’s El Ikiru, who suggested screenplay changes and took the project to Mediaset Espana’s film production Telecinco Cinema, which suggested Darin.

With K & S, Darin and Rueda on board, sales company Film Factory, a frequent Telecinco partner, inked to rep the project; K & S and Cepa brought in Fox International and Telefe.

Fox will release in Spain on Nov. 8.

“7th Floor’s” gang-busting bow doesn’t guarantee a hit bow in Spain, said Gasull.

But it is encouraging, he added. “You think that if a Ricardo Darin film works in Argentina, it will work in Spain as well,” he argued, saying El Toro was now talking about three more projects with Cepa.

Results in Argentina are not cross-collateralized with Spain, said Telecinco Cinema CEO Ghislain Barrois. But “7th Floor” is “not a colossally expensive movie,” and Argentine co-production “lowers the risk,” he added.

“With the story and cast, Mediaset and Telecinco can make an event movie out ‘7th Floor.’ We’ll be able to promote it aggressively,” Barrois concluded.

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