BUENOS AIRES – Juan Jose Campanella’s latest film, the 3D-animated Foosball opened Friday in winter-break Buenos Aires and marked an all-time record in attendance numbers with 104,000 tickets sold on the first day, according to numbers provided by by Ultracine.
Campanella’s follow-up to foreign-language Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes has the biggest budget ever for an Argentine film ($20 million) and is the biggest Latin American animated picture ever made.
Foosball is the sole local contender to U.S. releases Turbo, which also opened this week with 44,000 tickets sold on its first day, and last week's releases Despicable Me 2 and Pixar’s Monsters University. The animation competition is intense in a highly concentrated market with only 900 screens nationwide and a low percentage of digital 3D theaters.
Foosball follows a Toy Story-esque story, in which timid small-town youngster Amadeo is challenged to a soccer game by Grosso, an international star-player who is back for revenge after losing a foosbll match against him back when they were kids. A group of steal foosball players, led by Capi (Pablo Rago) then come alive to help Amadeo win the match and save the town.
“It’s the first film of this size to be made without a U.S. studio investment, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with it”, said Campanella at the film’s press conference. The film’s animation aims to match the quality of big US studios and sets a high standard for a small but growing local animation industry. “In terms of technology and humanity, we’re in an international level, although we might need some larger render capability, like for scenes featuring great masses of water, which luckily the story didn’t ask for”, the director stated.
Foosball is also the first Argentine film to ever depend on its international release to make money. “If everyone in the country goes to see it twice, it still wouldn’t be enough to make money”, he explained.