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Thursday, February 05, 2015 (read 961 times)

2014 Spanish Blockbusters

by David

Since the Oscar's are right around the corner let's take advantage of this moment to look back at what Spanish films were the most popular this past year at the box-office in their home county. Often, what is most popular in Spain isn't always the most popular abroad and this year is no different: Pedro Almodóvar is similar to Woody Allen in the sense that he is probably more popular abroad than in his home country (however this is relative since both continue to be popular in their respective countries) and much of Almodóvar's success has come from his acceptance with American movie goers. So what movies captured the attention, imagination and money of Spanish movie fans? Here are the most popular movies from 2014 in Spain:

Ocho Apellidos Vascos

The top grossing movie of 2014 was the hit Ocho Apellidos Vascos or Spanish Affair in English. This movie is a comedic love story that also takes on the cultural differences between Southern and Northern Spain, particularly the differences between the Andalusian and Basque people. In the movie we see people from Seville as funny, quick witted and fashion conscious while the Basques are nationalistic, grumpy and "brutos" (brutish). Full of plenty of inside references to Spanish culture which will delight the viewer that is familiar with the social and cultural peculiarities of Spain, but may be a little difficult for someone not familiar with Spain to capture these references. This would be similar to the way a lot of the humor and cultural references in Pulp Fiction could be lost on a non American. Even though there is nothing new or innovative about this movie, its story and excellent cast has captured the imagination of the Spanish public and tapped into the Spanish social consciousness. Because of this success, it also became the highest grossing Spanish movie ever by making more than 77 million euros at the domestic box office surpassing Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible.

El Niño

The second top grossing movie of 2014 was the action thriller El Niño from Daniel Monzón, the same director that made the successful Cell 211 (2009). Popular Spanish mainstay, Luis Tosar (also from Cell 211), plays a police detective who has never scored the drug bust his superiors have been hoping for and now finds himself struggling to maintain his credibility within the police force. One the other side we see newcomer Jesus Castro in the role of El Niño (the kid) who is looking to make a name of himself even if it means transporting drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain. With nods to directors Michael Mann, Paul Greengrass and Alfred Hitchcock; you will surely get your fix of adrenaline producing chases, thrilling action and an excellent cops and robbers plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Pancho, El Perro Millionario

The third highest grossing movie was Pancho, El Perro Millionario. A children's movie, this is the story of Pancho, a Jack Russell terrier. Pancho the dog became famous thanks to a series of Spanish lottery commercials shown in Spain over the last 10 years and the the premise of the movie is taken from these commercials. If you remember the commercial, Pancho was a loyal dog until he struck it rich playing the lottery for his master. In the movie we see how Pancho lives today surrounded by wealth, toys and the dangers of the outside world. A funny movie that kids will love, we'll see if Pancho can learn a thing or two about the value of true friends—which is something that can't be bought with money.

Carmina y Amén

Real life blends with fiction in the second "Carmina" movie and fourth top grossing Spanish film of 2014, Carmina y Amén (Carmina and Amen) from Paco León. León proves to be a worthy successor to the most outrageous Almódovar of the 80's. Like Almodóvar, he employs his real life mother Carmina Barriosa and sister (María León) to repeat their roles as matriarch and daughter. In this story, Carmina's husband and head of the family, Antonio (Paco Casaus) becomes ill and dies at home. In a nod to the difficult times that many Spanish families are experiencing, this Sevillian family needs to receive and cash-in Antonio's final paycheck to make ends meet. To achieve this, they must spend the next few days hiding his body and delay notifying the authorities of his death. Outrageous scene follows outrageous scene as Paco León successfully transfers his comedic acting skills to that of directing. Much like the previous movie, Carmina or Blow up, the actors do a great job of taking material that isn't exactly new, but with their skill they manage to keep the dialogue fresh in this irreverent comedy.

Perdona Si Te Llamo Amor

Fifth and final place on our list is Perdona Si Te Llamo Amor (Sorry, If I Love You) the Spanish remake of the 2008 Italian hit, Scusa ma ti chiamo amore. This adaptation of the novel of the same name by Italian writer Federico Moccia is a story of forbidden love between a 17 year old student and a 37 year old advertising executive. Through a chance encounter we see how their relationship forms and the difficulties that their differences in age present. Will they find true love together? You'll have to see the movie (or read the book) to find out. A low calorie movie with great visuals of Barcelona and the surrounding countryside, this movie will satisfy the most demanding teenager and offer adults an opportunity to while away an hour and a half.

So, there you have the top five 2014 Spanish blockbusters. Interestingly, three of the five movies are comedies, a genre that continues to be immensely popular in Spain. 2014 will be remembered as the year audiences rebelled against high ticket prices which forced the Spanish film industry, in conjunction with theater operators to lower prices movie prices. After four years of declining sales, 2014 was a year that saw 14% more spectators than the previous year along with 3% growth at the box office. A move that ultimately benefitted the industry. For Spanish cinema the result was even better with 25% growth in Spanish productions.

2015 promises to be a good year for movies in Spain with the return of Star Wars and Jurassic World. Also, eagerly awaited Spanish productions like Regression from Amenábar, Medem's Ma Ma and Garcia-Velillay's Perdiendo El Norte will surely continue the progression that the Spanish film industry was able to generate this past year.

Keywords: spanish movies,movies in spanish,ocho apellidos vascos,spanish movie,spanish films,the kid movie,spanish cinema,spanish film

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