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Santiago Segura’s ‘Torrente 5’ Breaks Records at Spanish B.O.

Local films, after reaching a 68% market share over the past weekend, aim to surpass the 25% barrier by year's end

Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing Spain, Santiago Segura’s comedy “Torrente 5: Mission Eurovegas” ran up the biggest domestic opening for any film at the 2014 Spanish box office, scoring Euro3.6 million ($4.5 million) its first three days.

This record, alongside standout performances by other locals – Alberto Rodriguez’s cop thriller “Marshland” (with $1.0 million) and Daniel Monzon’s actioner “El Nino” ($647,640) over October 3-5 – gave Spanish film a magnificent 68% slice of the box office, said Arturo Guillen, Rentrak VP, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The fifth installment of the successful saga beat “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which held the top post after grossing $4.3 million in its opening, in mid-July, released by Hispano Foxfilms.

The opening figures of “Torrente 5” “are lower than those of its predecessor, “Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis,” released three years ago, with $10.6 million and 1.1 million tickets sold, according to Pau Brunet at Boxoffice.es.

“On that occasion, the figures was boosted by the higher ticket price -it was a 3D film release-, which was $9.7 versus today’s $8.6. Using the 2011 prices, ‘Torrente 5’ opening would have reach $5.2 million,” Brunet added.

“The result is higher than we expected given the context and the difference in ticket prices. We are judicious about final box office projections precisely because of these contextual issues,” said Axel Kuschevatzky, head of Telefonica Studios, a “Torrente 5” co-producer alongside Santiago Segura’s Amiguetes Ent. and Atresmedia Cine.

Results were driven first and foremost by Segura’s proven talent for comedy, most probably unrivalled today in Spain, plus his unflagging flair at promotion on TV, printed press and by Twitter, and the Atresmedia broadcasting group’s muscular push.

Budgeted at $10.7 million, “Torrente 5″ is directed, written and produced by Segura who also reprises his starring role as scumbag cop Jose Luis Torrente.

Paradoxically, while Spanish films are breaking records at local B.O., production of local industry pics is languishing, damaged by the economic crisis, piracy and still uncertain state financing.

“It’s clear that Spanish audiences love Spanish cinema. The three films -‘Torrente 5,’ ‘Marshland’ and ‘El niño’ – are very different, and aimed at different targets, which allows them to co-exist perfectly without cannibalizing each other,” ,” Kuschevatzky said.

He added: “On the other hand, they are ambitious proposals in concepts and production values ​​– which justify going to cinemas to see them.”

After Mediaset Espana’s comedy “Spanish Affair” ($69.3 million) and “El Nino” ($17.9 million through Oct.5) plus Atresmedia’s “Marshland” ($2.8 million in two weeks), local films are on the way to blast past an all-time yearly record.

“Taking into account that upcoming titles in the fall includes Javier Fesser’s “Mortadelo y Filemon Contra Jimmy el Cachondo,” Spanish films could easily surpass a 25% market share and four Spanish titles could occupy the top four of the year,” Guillen said.

“The results confirm Spanish cinema is getting more competitive, boosted by Spanish TV broadcasters’ successful transferance of their TV dramas production model to film, priming commercial projects. This should give cause for thought,” Guillen added.

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