Renewing relations with Spain's two most preeminent heavyweight auteurs, Spanish production and promotion powerhouse Telecinco Cinema has boarded both Juan Antonio Bayona's fantasy-actioner "A Monster Calls" and Alejandro Amenabar's thriller "Regression."
Both are set up for high-profile U.S. releases: TWC-Dimension is opening "Regression," starring Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson, on August 28, and Focus Features bows "A Monster Calls" on Oct. 14, 2016.
"The Impossible," Telecinco will co-produce "Monster," which is produced by Belen Atienza at Spain's Apaches Entertainment.
Focus Features, River Road, Participant Media and Lionsgate have teamed to finance and distribute "Monster," which, repped by Lionsgate, reportedly sold nearly all major international territories at Cannes.
Exec producers on "A Monster Calls" are River Road's Bill Pohlad and Mitch Herwits, Participant Media's Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, and Lionsgate Motion Picture Group's Patrick Wachsberger.
Starring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones, "A Monster Calls" is an adaptation of a book by Patrick Ness that won Britain's Carnegie Medal and Greenaway Medal in 2012 for best children's literature.
"A Monster Calls" centers on a 12-year-old boy whose mother is dying from cancer. Unable to cope with his anger and angst, as well as bullying at school, he invents a monster, from a huge tree in his garden, who comes to see him and tells him a series of stories. The story is told from the child's viewpoint.
Telecinco Cinema has also acquired Spanish rights to the FilmNation-sold "Regression," which has wrapped principal photography in Toronto, having produced Amenabar's prior "Agora."
Lead produced by MOD Entertainment, MOD Producciones and Amenabar's own label Himenoptero, and produced by First Generation Films in Canada and Telefonica Studios, which announced its involvement today, "Regression" is set in Minnesota in 1990, where detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime.
"'Regression" allows me to revisit a mystery, capturing the flavor of suspense classics," Amenabar said.
Boarding both films for Spain, Telecinco Cinema is now in a good place to harness its parent broadcast group Mediaset Espana's portfolio of TV channels, news reports and organization of special events to turn the films into two of the biggest releases in upcoming years in Spain, as it has recently with local comedy "Spanish Affair." In cinema, nobody knows anything, but it would be highly surprising if "Regression" and "A Monster Calls" don't turn out out to be blockbusters in their directors' home territories, a fact that will not be lost on Hollywood's major studios.Theatrical and DVD distribution rights are open on both films in Spain.
"It's an enormous satisfaction for Mediaset Espana to contribute once more with all the means at its disposal so that the talent of two truly great directors and friends such as Bayona and Amenabar yields results," said Paolo Vasile, CEO of Mediaset Espana.
Added Ghislain Barrois, Telecinco Cinema CEO: "We will once again yoke the authentic cinema language of both of these directors with an also unique promotion strategy that Mediaset Espama carries out for films of this caliber, which will no doubt contribute to their acquiring the status of Spanish cinema movie events."
"Regression" and "A Monster Calls" join a string of Telecinco Cinema movies that are among the most international titles that Spain has produced in the last 10 years, including, beyond Bayona and Amenabar's movies, Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," "Cell 211" and "Tad, the Lost Explorer."
Upcoming Telecinco Cinema movies include Daniel Monzon's Spanish-language social action thriller "El nino," sold abroad by Studiocanal, whose powerful promo was well received at Cannes.