Universal Nabs Rights to 'Spanish Affair' Sequel for Spain

Pedro Alborenoz

Distributor picks up rights to the sequel to last year's Spanish box office sensation, 'A Spanish Affair.'

Universal Pictures will distribute the sequel to last year’s sleeper in Spain, A Spanish Affair, which has started shooting in the northeastern Catalan region of Spain, where the first installment rewrote all-time box office records as the best performer ever.

Emilio Martínez-Lázaro will direct the second installment of the romantic comedy that plays with prejudices and regional stereotypes and has included Berto Romero, Rosa Maria Sardà and Belén Cuesta in the cast that continues to star the quartet that made the first film such a social phenomenon: Dani Rovira, Clara Lago, Karra Elejalde and Carmen Machi.

Sitting against the backdrop of the stately, rural 12th century house where the film started shooting last week, producers— Telecinco Cinema and LaZona — and Martinez-Lazaro shied away from naming the project or giving too many details beyond saying that it takes place in Catalonia and involves another man.

If the first film played with the differences between Spain’s southern region of Andalucia and the more restive northern Basque region, the second film will play with the political and social tensions between the northeastern region of Catalonia and the rest of Spain.

Lest anyone think producers are gearing up to start churning out franchises, Mediaset Spain’s CEO Paolo Vasile said, “I’m not a big fan of second parts. Telecinco Cinema obviously is going to invest the utmost of our professional, corporate and economic abilities, and we hope the when the audiences see the second film they don’t think that we forced them to go see it, but that they think we made a great 'first' film about a story between Spain and Catalonia.”

Telecinco Cinema CEO Ghislain Barrois also said the company threw its weight behind the project without an intention to start a strategy of franchises.

“We are very conscious and we well know the saying that ‘second parts were never very good,’ but we also remember that they said it was absolutely impossible that a Spanish film could outperform Titanic and we did it.”

A Spanish Affair, has earned more than $61.5 million (€56 million) since its launch in March 2014, sitting only behind Avatar as the top-grossing film in the history of the Spanish box office. The film sold more than 9.5 million tickets, making it the third most seen film ever in Spain and sat 67 consecutive days in the No. 1 spot of the daily ticket sales in Spain.