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CGIFeature Film

Mort & Phil Will Take on ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ in Spain This Weekend


There’s a fascinating box office match-up brewing in Spain this weekend between DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar and the homegrown Spanish CGI feature Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo, which will be released by Warner Bros. The latter is based on Francisco Ibáñez’s beloved comic book characters Mortadelo y Filemón (Mort & Phil), and as you’ll see in the trailer below, they’ve got the same slapstick-spy setup as the penguins:

While the characters are all but unknown to American audiences, Mort & Phil have a big following in Spain and have starred in two successful live-action features over the last decade—La gran aventura de Mortadelo y Filemón in 2003 and Mortadelo y Filemón. Misión: salvar la Tierra in 2008. Their appearances in animation have been irregular, and most of the animation that has been made with the characters, like the 1960s theatrical short series and 1994 TV series, look cheap.

This new CG film, however, is an ambitious production, and judging by the trailer, sets a new standard for CG feature animation out of Spain. The director is Oscar-nominated and Goya-winning director Javier Fesser who produced the film out of Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios, best known in the States for the feature Planet 51. The studio is currently gearing up for another stateside project with the burgeoning Paramount Animation.

The film’s budget was reportedly around US$12.5 million when the project was announced a couple years ago. It’s been difficult to find an updated figure, but even if the film cost double that amount, it’s still a handsome-looking production for its relatively small budget.

Check back on Sunday to see how the local Spanish spies fared against DreamWorks’s Los Pingüinos de Madagascar.

For reference, here’s how the characters looked in animation during the 1960s:


[Thanks, Pau]

  • Iker

    As big as the advertising might be for the ‘Penguins’, my guess is that ‘Mortadelo y Filemón’ will likely be the top movie this weekend in Spain.

    Kudos to Ilion for such a nice looking visuals with such a short budget!

  • Googamp32

    I’m rooting for “Mort & Phil!”

  • Toonio

    Ibanez has some serious composition skill. if illion followed Ibanez’s lead, I bet they didn’t have any problems in that department.

    It’s also worth to mention that illion has some pretty efficient pipelines and workflows (due to their own constraints as a small shop), this makes you wonder whether Hollywood productions are indeed way too padded (for whatever reason) or producers are pocketing more than they are supposed to.

    Now talking about the movie, it seems it will beat the penguins despite some negative reviews.

  • Bob

    The helicopter pilot looks like a successful tribute to the late Marty Feldman

  • Michel Van

    “Mort & Phil!” are Cult in Spain and Germany
    they will dominate box-office in Spain
    and those two live action movies, were also a success in Spain.
    yes, they found actors who look just like them

    • I noticed in Germany, they were given the names “Clever & Smart”, clever pun really.

  • MaskedManAICN

    I suppose it’s just me, but based on the trailers I have no interest in seeing Penguins, and totally want to see Mort and Phil.

    • More Americans need to open their eyes to these unseen gems!

  • I get that same feeling too Gagaman. I suppose it’s an acquired taste to go for stuff like that. As a kid, that was all Nickelodeon use to play in the early 1980’s.

  • I did notice at least one episode can be watched on YouTube (courtesy of producers BRB Internacional), but the only thing that came to my attention is a moment of someone “flipping the bird” I’m sure would’ve gotten deleted had they tried to bring it over here.