Warner Bros. Grabs Worldwide Rights to Spanish Film ‘Toc Toc’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Emiliano De Pablos
Variety

Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. has grabbed worldwide rights, including Spain, to Vicente Villanueva comedy “Toc Toc,” one of the highlights in the 2017 movie slate by Atresmedia Cine, the film production arm of Spanish TV giant Atresmedia Group.

“Toc Toc” adapts the same-title stage play, written by French author Laurent Baffie, which has been successfully released in more than 20 countries. It turns on several patients suffering obsessive-compulsive disorder who interact while waiting at a doctor’s office for the arrival of their therapist.

Co-produced by Atresmedia Cine and Lazona, “Toc Toc” has just terminated a seven-week shoot in Madrid, and is scheduled for a summer release in Spanish theaters via Warner Bros..

Villanueva, who helmed “The Opposite to Love,” a 2011 romantic comedy backed by Atresmedia, Zeta and Sony Pictures, has directed in “Toc Toc” a high-profile Spanish cast led by helmer-actor Paco Leon, Rossy de Palma, Adrian Lastra and Alexandra Jimenez, along with Argentine star Oscar Martinez, winner this year of the Venice Festival’s best actor  Volpi Cup for “The Distinguished Citizen.”

Rodrigo Cortes’ Uma Thurman-starrer “Down A Dark Hall,” a fantasy thriller also backed by Lionsgate; Wim Wenders’ drama “Submergence,” toplining James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander; and Mateo Gil’s comedy “Laws of Thermodynamics,” whose theatrical rights will be handled by Sony in Spain, also form part of Atresmedia Cine’s ambitious 2017 film slate, unveiled Wednesday at a press dinner in Madrid by president Mikel Lejarza and managing director Mercedes Gamero.

Atresmedia Cine aims to release 12 films during 2017, the same figure as this year. Obliged by law since 1999 to invest at least 3% of Atresmedia Group’s annual sales in European or Spanish films, Atresmedia Cine is making a virtue out of necessity. This year, it has seen profits on nine of the ten films released to date, after an investment of some €24 million ($26.5 million), according to Lejarza.

“We feel like the largest film factory in Spain,” he said.

So far this year, the ten films released by Atresmedia Cine have earned a total Spanish box office of $35.6 million, driven by Fox comedy “Heroes Wanted” ($7.2 million), the third highest-grossing Spanish film of the year after Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” ($25.3 million) and Daniel Calparsoro’s “No Crook No Crime” ($7.4 million), both titles produced by broadcaster Mediaset Espana’s Telecinco Cinema, Atresmedia Cine’s main rival.

With a current 37.1% share of local B.O. for Spanish movies, Atresmedia aims to reach at least 40% of the Spanish market share by year end, Lejarza estimated, rolling off the launch of two box office-friendly titles: Fernando Trueba’s Penelope Cruz-starred“The Queen of Spain,” sequel of 1999 hit “The Girl of Your Dreams,” a comedy-drama bowing on Nov. 25, and Nacho Garcia Velilla’s comedy “Villaviciosa de al lado” (Dec. 2).

“We cultivate a wide range of film genres, working with both established directors and young talents, to whom we give the opportunity to shoot with more resources,” Mercedes Gamero said.

More standout 2017 releases by Atresmedia Cine include Agustin Diaz Yanes’ adventure film “Oro,” a co-production with Apache Films, whose U.S., Latin American and Spanish rights have been acquired by Sony; comedy “El Bar,” the company’s first co-production with Alex de la Iglesia, a Sony acquisition for Spain, as is Pablo Berger’s Maribel Verdu-starrer “Abracadabra.”

Also, Patricia Ferreira’s comedy “Thi Mai,” rolling from November in Vietnam and Navarre, is being co-produced with Tripictures, who will also distribute the film next year.

Atresmedia’s 2017 slate includes three more Warner pickups for Spain: Oriol Paulo’s thriller “The Invisible Guest,” Inaki Dorronsoro heist thriller “Escape Plan” and Alvaro Diaz Lorenzo’s comedy “Lord, Give Me Patience.”

Continuing Atresmedia’s bet on big screen novel adaptations, DeAPlaneta will release, on March 3 Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s serial killer thriller “The Invisible Guardian,” the first movie makeover of Dolores Redondo’s Baztan Trilogy, a co-production with Adrian Guerra’s Nostromo and Nadcon which is sold by Film Factory.

“The Invisible Guardian” partners have already greenlit the film saga’s second instalment, with the same above-the-line team, including actress Marta Etura, scheduled for a 2018 release, Gamero said.

Andres Koppel’s thriller “The Fog and The Maiden,” a co-production with Gerardo Herrero’s Tornasol, toplining Quim Gutierrez, Aura Garrido and Veronica Echegui, another DeAPlaneta 2017 release, is also based on a novel, this time by Lorenzo Silva.

Eva Garcia Saenz de Urturi’s suspense novel “El silencio de la ciudad blanca” and Roberto Santiago’s children-oriented book “Los futbolisimos” will also be adapted by Atresmedia Cine.

Although the main returns for Atresmedia Cine still come from Spain’s local theatrical market, a big challenge is to increase the company’s presence on international projects.

“We want to enter into more international co-productions,” Lejarza said. “The audiovisual business is evolving with the arrival of new players like Netflix and countries like China that a few years ago did not have presence in this industry,” he added.

One immediate step in this sense will be animated feature project “Dragon Keeper,” a big international co-production which shortly sign up a Chinese partner.

For 2018, Atresmedia has also announced “Perdiendo el Este,” the sequel to Nacho G. Velilla’s immigration comedy “Perdiendo el Norte,” the biggest 2015 Spanish movie hit, “El reino,” a political thriller by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and Oriol Paulo’s supernatural film “Mirage.”

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