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BUENOS AIRES – Juan Jose Campanella’s latest film, the 3D-animated Foosball, opened Thursday in winter-break Buenos Aires and marked an all-time record in attendance numbers with 104,000 tickets sold on the first day, according to Ultracine.
Campanella’s follow-up to his 2010 foreign-language Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes sports the biggest budget ever for an Argentine film ($20 million) and is the biggest Latin American animated picture ever made.
Foosball is the sole local contender to U.S. releases Turbo, which also opened this week with 44,000 tickets sold on its first day, and last week’s Despicable Me 2 and Pixar’s Monsters University. The animation competition is intense in a highly concentrated market with only 900 screens nationwide and a low percentage of digital 3D theaters.
Foosball follows a Toy Story-esque tale in which a timid small-town youngster named Amadeo is challenged to a soccer game by Grosso, an international star who is back for revenge after losing a match against him when they were kids. A group of the table’s foosball players, led by Capi (Pablo Rago), come alive to help Amadeo win the match and save the town.
“It’s the first film of this size to be made without a U.S. studio investment, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with it,” said Campanella at the film’s news conference. The animation aims to match the quality of Hollywood studios and sets a high standard for a small but growing local industry. “In terms of technology and humanity, we’re at an international level, although we might need some larger render capability, like for scenes featuring great masses of water, which luckily the story didn’t ask for,” the director said.
Foosball is also the first Argentine film to depend on its international release to turn a profit. “If everyone in the country goes to see it twice, it still wouldn’t be enough to make money,” Campanella explained.
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