Spanish movies enjoy strong first half

'Oxford Murders,' 'Mortadelo and Filemon' lead pack

MADRID -- A murder mystery and a slapstick comedy fueled a surge in attendance in the first half of the year for Spanish films, which doubled their boxoffice business, taking in 39.2 million euros ($62.4 million) compared with 19.3 million euros during the same period a year ago.

The overall boxoffice for the first half, announced Tuesday by the Spanish Culture Ministry, stood a 266.8 million euros ($424.5 million) -- or 46.7 million viewers -- from 980 films.

Leading the pack among the 215 Spanish titles were Alex de la Iglesia's English-language whodunit "The Oxford Murders," in third place with 8.2 million euros ($13 million), and Miguel Bardem's comic-based "Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission -- Save the Planet," in fourth with 7.7 million euros ($12.3 million).

In the first half of 2007, there were no Spanish movies among the top 25 boxoffice earners.

As usual, the top earners this year for the Jan. 1-June 30 period were U.S. productions, with 378 films earning 191 million euros ($304 million).

The overall boxoffice champs were "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which grossed 17.5 million euros ($27.9 million), and the prehistoric romp "10,000 BC," which brought in 8.3 million euros ($13.2 million).