‘Ocho apellidos vascos’ becomes most-seen Spanish movie ever

Romantic comedy overtakes national box office figure set by Amenábar’s ‘The Others’

'Ocho apellidos vascos' is now the most-seen Spanish film in the nation's cinemas.
'Ocho apellidos vascos' is now the most-seen Spanish film in the nation's cinemas.

In the end not even the Amazing Spider-Man could beat the Basques. The release of the second part of the rebooted Marvel superhero franchise last Thursday had been expected to spell the end of the reign of the all-conquering Ocho apellidos vascos at the top of the national box office chart, but it wasn’t to be. Director Emilio Martínez-Lázaro’s Basque Country-set romantic comedy remains at the top of Spain’s film charts for the sixth week, where it continues breaking records, taking in almost triple the gross of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It retains its place in the global box office top 15, which it has never left these past weeks despite having only been released in Spain, and this weekend it also became the most-watched Spanish film of all time in the nation’s theaters.

According to provisional figures released by box office measurement service Rentrak Spain (results from some theaters are still to be added), by Sunday Ocho apellidos vascos had been seen by 6,525,919 people and had taken more than €38,154,471, leaving behind Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others (2001), which had previously topped the list with 6,410,561 tickets sold and earnings of €27,254,163.

The movie could soon pass the earnings figure that James Cameron’s Titanic set in 1997

Further behind are Juan Antonio Bayona’s tsunami-drama The Impossible (2012), with 6,124,698 viewers and earnings of €42,386,171; For a Few Dollars More (1966), with 5,520,971 tickets sold; comedian Santiago Segura’s Torrente 2, misión en Marbella (2001), with 5,321,969; La gran aventura de Mortadelo y Filemón (2003), with 4,985,983; Bayona’s The Orphanage (2007), with 4,420,636; and the 1970 Alfredo Landa comedy No desearás al vecino del quinto, which sold 4,371,624 tickets.

Those figures are for Spanish films at the domestic box office. In terms of the global market for Spanish movies, The Others reigns supreme as the highest-grossing Spanish movie in history, with worldwide earnings of almost €210 million, followed by The Impossible with €180 million, animation Planet 51 (€105 million), Pedro Almodóvar’s Volver (85 million) and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (€83 million).

Ocho apellidos vascos, which is about an Andalusian man trying to pass himself off as a Basque for a girl, has yet to be released abroad, and judging by films dealing with similar themes, such as France’s Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, it is unlikely to have the same impact outside of Spain.

Ocho apellidos vascos could soon pass the earnings figures set by both James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic (€41.6 million, though, in those days of cheaper prices, from 11.2 million tickets sold) and The Impossible (€42,386.171). But it remains a long way behind the €77 million that Cameron’s Avatar (2009) reaped at the Spanish box office from nine million tickets sold.


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