'Agora' charms Spanish moviegoers

Alejandro Amenabar pic stars Rachel Weisz

MADRID -- Alejandro Amenabar's Egyptian epic "Agora" became this year's top-grossing local film after only four days and snagged the top spot for 2009's best opening weekend at the Spanish boxoffice.

Released by Fox on Friday, "Agora" earned €7 million ($10.4 million) in the first four days, thanks largely to a strong weekend that raked in €5.4 million ($8 million) with some 7 million tickets sold.

"Agora," which stars Rachel Weisz, displaces "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," the previous top opening weekend with €5.3 million ($7.8 million).

The film's strong opening leaves it shy of hitting the all-time high for a Spanish film's opening. Four years ago, Santiago Segura's "Torrente 3: El Protector" earned €7.2 million ($10.7 million) in the first three days.

The opening follows an unusually aggressive advertising campaign for Spain, spearheaded by broadcaster Telecinco, which saw its film branch Telecinco Cinema co-produce the film with Fernando Bovaira's Mod Producciones and Amenbar's Himenoptero.

Focus Features International holds international rights.
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