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Ventana Sur: Cinema Republic, Gullane Clinch ‘President by Accident’ Remake Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

As many sales agents, Madrid-based company sees future in diverification

BUENOS AIRES — Diversifying fast into the remakes business and into production, David Castellanos’ Madrid-based Cinema Republic has sold reversion rights for Brazil to Gullane on Ricardo Milani’s 2013 hit comedy “Bienvenuto Presidente!” (President By Accident).

Gullane, one of Brazil’s very top film-TV producers, plans to produce the remake with Fox Intl. Productions (FIP). Grossing $11 million in its domestic market of Italy, and produced by Indigo Film which backed Oscar winner “The Great Beauty,” and by Rai Cinema, “President by Accident,” about a local librarian in a small mountain village mistakenly elected president of Italy, is one of eight movies on which Castellanos’ Cinema Republic and Manuel Yebra’s Seville-based Cienfuegos currently handle remake rights.

Further titles include Gullane’s “Till Luck Do Us Part” movie trilogy, Indigo’s own “The Invisible Boy” and Spain’s “Pagafantas” (The Friend Zone).

Cinema Republic’s core business used to be straight sales of original movies. It still aims to handle two-to-three original movies a year but is now also selling two-to-three remake titles annually as well, Castellanos’ said at Ventana Sur. In Buenos Aires, he is representing Latin American rights outside Mexico to “Road to Mars,” a romantic road movie with comedic moments which, starring “Club of Crows’” Luis Gerardo Méndez, unspooling along Mexico’s stunning Baja California peninsula and packed with VHX, which represents one of Televisa-Videocine’s biggest plays of late 2017.

Cinema Republic is also set to co-produce a movie with one of the biggest TV networks in the Spanish-speaking world.

Both moves – into remakes and production – are a sign of the times. Global box office edged up 0.5% to $38.6 billion in 2016, despite a stronger dollar and slowing growth in China. But theatrical box office is increasingly contracting around Hollywood or local blockbusters, such as Constantin’s “Fack You Gohte 3,” which has scored $53.7 million through its first five weekends, making it by a head the highest-grossing movie title of the year in Germany, Hollywood hits included.

In some countries – Germany, Mexico, Brazil –  domestic hits in recent years have near all been comedies. Sourcing remakes, producers have the opportunity to tap into properties which have often proved hits – “President by Accident” earned $11 million box office in Italy – or have now seen their market value increase: “The Friend Zone’s” screenwriters went on to pen “Spanish Affair,” which grossed $77.5 million in Spain.

“Straight independent film sales are increasingly complicated, and it’s very complicated to write a great comedy, so we’re doing well with remakes,” Castellanos said.

Of remake deals, Cinema Republic has licensed “The Invisible Boy” to Mexico’s Supervivientes and “The Friend Zone” to Germany’s Hupe Films. Deals will soon close for Mexico and Argentina on “President by Accident” and for Brazil on “The Friend Zone,” according to Castellanos.

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