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The need for content following the explosion of SVOD has many producers looking to Spain for ideas to adapt to their market

Remake rights for Spanish films are seeing their stock rise among international buyers

Oriol Paulo (Barcelona, 1975) is a Spanish filmmaker who has taken a leading role in opening new paths for the international commercialization of Spanish cinema.

Beyond his box office successes in China, with titles such as “Mirage,” which grossed $16.5 million in 2019, and in particular “The Invisible Guest,” which made more than $30 million a couple of years ago, the acquisition of the rights to adapt his thrillers has also sparked great interest, especially in Asia.

This summer we learned that Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap was producing his film “Dobaaraa,” a Hindi-language adaptation of “Mirage,” which was produced in Spain by Atresmedia Cine, Colosé Producciones, Mirage Studio, and Think Studio.

For its part, in 2019, “The Invisible Guest” had two versions in India: “Badla,” in Hindi, and “Evaru,” in Telugu. It was also adapted in Italy by Picomedia and Warner Bros. under the title “Il testimone invisibile.”

A remake of “The Body,” a 2012 Rodar y Rodar production starring Belén Rueda and directed by Paulo, which earned him a nomination for Best New Director at the Goya Awards, was produced by Sidus Corp for the South Korean market under the title “Sarajin Bam” in 2018. Three other versions of “The Body” have also been produced in India for the Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil language markets.

Undoubtedly, remake rights represent a growing business. As distributors acquire films more selectively for theatrical release, there is an increasing number of titles that may go unsold, but this does not prevent them from being ideas with the potential for adaptation.

Sales of film remake rights are not a phenomenon specific to the Spanish market, but rather a global demand for appealing scripts that tell universal stories.

“The search for good concepts is increasing, just as it happened with television, which sells more scripts than finished products,” says Antonio Saura, CEO of Spanish sales agency Latido Films.

“I think it's a global phenomenon, not just Spanish. But it obviously affects Spanish cinema. All people are looking for ideas that can work in any country with the right adaptations,” he says.

Champions,” produced by Morena Films, Películas Pendelton, RTVE, and Movistar Plus, is one of the most complete Spanish hits of the last years, succeeding in different commercial fronts, from the Spanish box office, to the international market, both in finished product sales and remake rights.

According to Juan Torres, Latido’s International Sales Director, “Champions” most recent agreements in this regard have been with the United States, Germany, China, and the Middle East.

In addition, Latido has signed agreements for the adaptation of Spanish co-productions such as “At the End of the Tunnel” (Korea and India), “4x4” (India and Brazil), and “The Distinguished Citizen” and “My Masterpiece”, both with France, where they have also acquired the remake rights for “La lista de los deseos,” a comedy by Álvaro Díaz Lorenzo produced by Spal Films, Oleum Films, and A Contracorriente Films.

Cesc Gay's comedy “The People Upstairs,” produced by Marta Esteban for Impossible Films, is generating interesting deals for Filmax. “The People Upstairs” will be one of the year's biggest success stories in terms of remake rights sales and one of the pillars in the commercial strategy of this Barcelona-based agency.

“The People Upstairs,” easy to replicate.

“It's a film that clients find intelligent, fresh, funny and morbid, and we've sold it very well,” says Ivan Diaz, Filmax's International Sales Director.

“What's more, it has proven to generate great value and interest as a remake for many international clients. It is an easy to replicate, and production is quite manageable during these times of COVID.”

The hook of “The People Upstairs,” where an encounter between two neighboring couples during a dinner in an apartment leads to an emotional tsunami, rests largely on the performance of its four actors, the renowned Javier Cámara, Belén Cuesta, Alberto San Juan, and Griselda Siciliano.

“If a significant part of all the remake options we have closed internationally are finally executed, “The People Upstairs” will be one of the most adapted Spanish IPs globally,” Diaz points out.