Feature Film

Paramount Makes A Bet on Spanish Feature Animation

Spanish feature animation is having a moment. Late in 2014, Ilion studio’s Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo opened head-to-head in Spain against DreamWorks’s Penguins of Madagascar, and easily beat its big-budget American counterpart.

This victory for Spanish animation wasn’t a one-time fluke. In 2012, Lightbox Entertainment’s children’s film Tad, the Lost Explorer (Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones) became one of the biggest Spanish-produced movies of all-time. It grossed over $24 million in Spain, holding the number one spot at the Spanish box office for five weeks in a row, and was equally successful throughout other Spanish-speaking territories. That year, it outgrossed most American features in Spain, including Ice Age: Continental Drift, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and Brave.

Madrid-based Lightbox and director Enrique Gato won’t release the Tad sequel until 2016, but they’ve got a new animated feature for 2015 called Capture the Flag (Atrapa la Bandera). They released the teaser just before Christmas:

The breakout success of Tad, the Lost Explorer convinced Paramount to sign a worldwide distribution agreement for both Capture the Flag and the Tad sequel. The deal represents a new willingness on the part of major American film companies to release foreign animated features and has been called a “milestone deal for Spanish animation.”

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Capture the Flag in the new year. The film’s box office performance will serve as an important indicator for the emerging possibilities of foreign animated features in the global marketplace.

(Thanks, Iker de los Mozos)

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