U.S. Majors and Catalan Government Reach Dubbing Agreement

Deal sets a two-year experimental period and a goal of 25 titles in 2012.

MADRID - The U.S. majors and the regional government of Spain's northeastern Catalonia have reached an agreement over the sticky issue of dubbing studio releases into the local Catalan language.

The move sidesteps a head-on confrontation with the regional government threatening hefty fines and the U.S. distributors refusing to release any films in Catalonia, following an audiovisual law passed last July that called for half of the prints of any release be dubbed or subtitled.

The deal was announced at a joint press conference between the Catalan government and Fedicine, which groups all of the U.S. distributors' Spanish subsidiaries.

"We're on the cusp of solving a problem that's been weighing on us for 12 years," said Fedicine President Luis Hernandez de Carlos, referring to successive Catalan administrations efforts to push the majors into dubbing into Catalan.

Under the accord the majors will release 25 films in 2012 with 25 copies dubbed into Catalan during a two-year experimental period. That buoys the figure of films released with a dubbed version in Catalan from 5 titles in 2010 to 25 in 2012, reaching an estimated 1.5 million moviegoers on a 50-screen circuit.

Catalonia's government will invest 1.4 million euros in dubbing subsidies.

The Three Muskateers, The Muppets, Men in Black 3, Ice Age 4 and Bourne Legacy are a few of the titles that will be released in Spanish and Catalan in Catalonia in the coming months.

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