Upcoming Spanish cinema, following in the wake of the success of “Padre no hay más que uno 3”
Forthcoming Spanish cinema releases include a mix of family titles and other independent productions, with tighter budgets and more limited promotional resources.
With the boost that Santiago Segura's "Padre no hay más que uno 3" has been giving the Spanish cinema box office since its release on July 14 –it is already the highest-grossing Spanish film of the year, bringing in almost €7 million in just 12 days–, upcoming domestic releases are taking on the challenge of attracting mainstream audiences to theaters as well..
In a year that’s seen some very pleasant surprises in the Spanish cinema box office come in the shape of movies that were previously big winners at festivals, films such as “Alcarrás,” the third installment of the franchise directed by Santiago Segura, reflects the success of more commercial productions aimed at all audiences.
Forthcoming Spanish cinema releases include a mix of family titles such as “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet” and other independent productions, with tighter budgets and more limited promotional resources. However, all the titles represent important projects that can provide the necessary leverage that the Spanish cinema quota needs on the road to recovery.
“Tadeo,” a successful franchise
It’s definitely family audiences that Telecinco Cinema is targeting with the August 26 release of “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet,” the third installment of the successful animated franchise directed by Enrique Gato.
Produced alongside Telecinco by Lightbox Animation Studios, Ikiru Films, and Anangu Grup, with the participation of Mediaset España, Movistar Plus, Mogambo, Crea SGR, and Mediterráneo Mediaset España Group, the film will be distributed globally by Paramount Pictures, which will also handle domestic distribution.
The challenge facing “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet” is a big one, considering that the first two installments of the saga “Tad, The Lost Explorer,” released in 2012, and “Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas,” in 2017, between them grossed no less than €35.8 million and attracted 5.9 million viewers.
Road movie by Álex de la Iglesia
Director and producer Álex de la Iglesia is due to release the romantic road movie “El cuarto pasajero (Blablacar),” produced by Telecinco Cinema and Pokeepsie (a company owned by De la Iglesia and Carolina Bang) on October 28. The film will be distributed in theaters by Sony Pictures and marketed worldwide by Filmax.
One of the most commercial titles of the year, co-written by De la Iglesia himself and Jorge Guerricaechevarría, “El cuarto pasajero (Blablacar)” stars Blanca Suárez and Alberto San Juan and was shot on location in the Madrid Region, the Basque Country, and La Rioja.
De la Iglesia has consolidated his standing as one of the most successful directors in Spanish cinema, with a commercial track record that includes “Witching & Bitching,” released in 2013, which grossed €15 million; “My Big Night” (2015), which topped €12 million; and “Perfect Strangers” (2017), which swept the board, grossing more than €20 million..
On that same day, Julio Soto Gurpide's film “Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow,” produced by Kapers Animation and The Thinklab, will be championing Spanish independent animation, which is achieving huge international prominence, as well as having attracted loyal audiences in theaters. It will be distributed by TriPictures.
Ahead of that, on October 21, another independent animation title will have been released, "Unicorn Wars," by Alberto Vázquez, winner of a Goya for film “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children” (2015) and the shorts “Birdboy” (2012) and “Decorado” (2016). Produced by Abano Producións, “Unicorn Wars” took part in the Official Selection at the Annecy International Film Festival, where it premiered on June 16. French distributor Charades is selling the film internationally, and in Spain it is to be distributed by the Basque company Barton Films.
The San Sebastián Marketing Lever
In September, after their screening at the San Sebastián Film Festival, Alberto Rodriguez's “Prison 77” and Paco Leon's “Rainbow” will hit theaters, taking advantage of the great promotional opportunity provided by Spain's main film event for the titles selected.
The world premiere of “Prison 77,” produced by José Antonio Félez, for Atípica Films and Movistar Plus, will be opening the San Sebastián Film Festival on September 16 and will be in theaters on September 23.
“Rainbow,” the eagerly awaited film by Paco León, which is a loose adaptation of the literary classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and is produced by Telecinco Cinema for Netflix, will premiere at the festival's Velodrome on September 18.
Also produced in collaboration with Los amigos de Dorothy AIE and with the participation of Andy Joke and Colosé Producciones, “Rainbow” will be released in theaters on September 23 and on Netflix worldwide on September 30.
Three films distributed in Spain by A Contracorriente Films will be taking part in the 70th edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival prior to their release in theaters: “Girasoles silvestres” by Jaime Rosales, scheduled to be released in theaters on October 14; “Suro,” by Mikel Gurrea, which will hit theaters across Spain on December 2; and “The Beasts,” by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, due to be released on November 11, after its world premiere at Cannes.
In terms of groundbreaking independent cinema, San Sebastián will also be hosting the Spanish premiere of “Piggy,” the debut feature film by Carlota Pereda, which will be competing in the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section. This Morena Films production, which received its world premiere at the last Sundance Film Festival, will be released on October 14 and distributed by Filmax. International sales will be handled by Charades Films.
Among the most eagerly awaited productions for this final stretch of the year is “God’s Crooked Lines,” scheduled for release on October 7. It is the adaptation by Barcelona director and screenwriter Oriol Paulo of the novel of the same name, written in 1979 by Torcuato Luca de Tena. Behind this thriller are production companies Atresmedia Cine, Nostromo Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures España, and Filmayer.
Oriol Paulo is a filmmaker with great international appeal, especially on the Asian market. His film “The Invisible Guest” was released in China in 2016, where it grossed $30 million, while “Mirage” from 2018 made $16.5 million in that same country.
As Christmas approaches, on November 18, Tripictures will be releasing Paco Caballero's "Reyes vs. Santa” in Spain, a film that promises lots of fun, focusing on the battle between the Three Wise Men and Santa Claus for the number one spot in children's hearts. The production stars Karra Elejalde who also starred in “A Spanish Affair”, an actor much-loved by Spanish audiences. This is a Morena Films production co-produced with Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar A.I.E., with the participation of Prime Video and RTVE, and will be marketed internationally by Film Factory Entertainment.
One Spanish screenwriter who’s a big hit at the box office is Catalan Cesc Gay, who grossed around €2 million with “A Gun in Each Hand,” €3.6 million with “Truman,” his most successful production, and a more than respectable €733,000 with “Sentimental,” right in the middle of the pandemic.
Gay will be back on November 25 next with a choral film called “Stories Not to Be Told,” produced once again by Marta Esteban for Imposible Films and Nocontarfilm, with the participation of RTVE, Movistar Plus, and Catalan TV channel TVC. The film will be distributed in theaters in Spain by Filmax, which is also in charge of international sales.
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