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Berlin: Brazil Buys Remake Rights to ‘Corazon de Leon’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Brazil’s powerhouse film and TV producer Coracao da Selva, which produced 2014 Berlinale competition film “Futuro Beach” by Karim Ainouz, has snagged Brazilian remake rights to 2013 Argentine hit “Corazon de Leon” (“Leon’s Heart”). Brazil would be the sixth territory to remake the romantic comedy following France, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and China.

China’s Aim Media starts production in April while the Mexican version, co-produced by CDL Films, Creative Andina and Matthias Ehrenberg’s Rio Negro, is in post and slated for an August release.

“It has a strong premise that proved itself a successful adaptable formula for different countries, cultures and languages,” said Coracao’s Georgia Costa Araujo. “Specifically in Brazil, we recognize in its visual humor the project’s greatest potential of dialogue with the local audience,” said Costa adding that principal photography has been scheduled for this year. “Corazon de Leon” is about an unlikely romance between a woman and a vertically-challenged man.

Behind the remake sales of this phenomenon is producer Jose Levy, owner/CEO of Creative Andina, who also has been selling remake rights to Chilean box office hit “I’m not Crazy” and last year’s No. 1 pic in Mexico, “Do It Like a Man,” both by Chile’s prolific hitmaker Nicolas Lopez. As a producer, Levy has partnered with Edgard Tenenbaum (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) to buy the French remake rights to Lopez’s comedy “No Filter” to shoot before the end of 2018.

These are just a few of the Latin American titles that are circulating across the region and beyond as producers bank on titles that have already been tested on other markets. “It’s always simpler to present a project that has a proven track record; the remake works on the same principles behind sequels: they’ve resonated with audiences, have high recognition value, good word of mouth and proven their box office appeal,” said Levy. He notes that comedies rarely transcend borders and usually need to be remade. “For it to work, it’s necessary to use a local popular comedian, use local slang and humor,” he said.

However, some variables such as casting or marketing can impact a remake’s box office appeal. He points to the U.S. remakes of Argentine hits “Nine Queens” and “The Secret in Their Eyes” as obvious misfires. The remake of “Corazon de Leon” was No. 1 in Peru, where it starred the country’s wildly popular comedian Carlos Alcantara and was produced by Tondero Films, the production company behind several recent local blockbusters. Meanwhile, the French and Colombian remakes of “Corazon” faltered at their respective box offices.

Levy is also in advanced remake rights talks with Brazil, India, Egypt, Spain, Italy and Germany for Argentine box office phenom “El Futbol o Yo” (“My Love or My Passion”). He has partnered with Mexico’s Monica Lozano of Alebrije Prods. (“Instructions Not Included”) and VCS Capital to produce the Mexican remake of the soccer comedy, now in post, and is slated for a May 18 release by Videocine.

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