You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Almodovar’s ‘Excited’ Posts Helmer’s Best-ever Bow

Helmer’s first comedy in years will not play Cannes

MADRID — Pedro power: Bucking recession and a drastic hike in Spain’s cinema ticket sales tax, Pedro Almodovar’s airplane-set comedy “I’m So Excited,” which is distribbed by Warner Bros., world preemed in Spain Friday to his best opening ever in his homeland: a first weekend Euros 1.93 million ($2.5 million).

Screen count was also Almodovar’s highest-ever: 298.

Almodovar’s previous first-sesh high was 2006’s “Volver,” which grossed $2.27 million. Almodovar’s biggest hometurf hit, cuming $13.2 million, “Volver’s” out-of-the-gate admissions-trawl bested “Excited’s” –- 335,875 plays 250,000. But last weekend’s gross was still a powerful opening for Almodovar’s first comedy since 1988’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

Per-screen-average, $8,407, suggests strong legs for “Excited,” which opens in Italy (March 21), France (March 27) and the U.S. (June 27), via Sony Pictures Classics.

“This was mostly a comedy, but Pedro’s films never stick to just one genre, so ‘Excited’ is a drama in its plot and characters, which is original but also Pedro’s brand, which works,” said producer Agustin Almodovar at El Deseo, who confirmed “Excited” would not be playing major European festivals -– scotching any prospect of a Cannes slot -– though it would grace local festivals, also outside Europe, which didn’t demand a degree of exclusivity.

“We’ll have a bit of a rest from what we’ve done recently, not going to a very major European festival,” Agustin Almodovar said.

Results are just slightly above expectations reflecting Almodovar’s return to comedy and his status as most probably Europe’s most important film director of modern times, and director-driven films work in Spain, argued Pablo Nogueroles, Warner Bros. Spain’s managing director.

Like “Volver,” a drama exploring the bedrock importance of maternity in Spain over generations, laced by social and political innuendos about Spain’s fallible ruling classes, was always seen as a possible play for the home-crowd.

Aiding its boffo bow was a campaign orchestrated by El Deseo with Warner Bros. and RTVE that mixed conventional but inspired media spend — a virtual plane zooming over the transmission of a crunch Real Madrid-Barcelona soccer match last Tuesday — with Almodovar’s innate new media sensibility.

Latter was seen in a flash-mob dance to pic’s title song last Saturday in central Madrid and Almodovar’s highly-Twitter-able artisanal drip-flow of blog-lets, clips, revelations, confessions and photos from when “I’m So Excited” was at project stage.

Inadvertently, one of the most negative reviews in the annals of Spanish film criticism — from El Pais’ Carlos Boyero, claiming “Excited” is an embarrassment –- helped goose attendance, turning “Excited” into a must-see-to-comment-on pic for anyone with a social or Internet life in Spain.

“The reviews -– good and bad — have been rejuvenating. It’s just like the old days in the early ‘80s, like we’re beginning again,” said Agustin Almodovar.

Emilio Mayorga and Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content