Almodóvar film yanked from theaters over distributor fight (11913)

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Almodóvar film yanked from theaters over distributor fight

A falling-out between one of Spain's biggest exhibitors and the local Warner distribution subsidiary led to the yanking of out director Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, Bad Education, from more than a dozen theaters around the country Thursday. Spanish exhibitor and distributor Enrique Gonzalez Macho said he decided to break his commercial agreements with Warner Sogefilms--the joint venture formed by Warner and Spain's Sogecable--when the distributor placed the Almodóvar movie in a theater across the street from Macho's. "Warner hasn't respected the basic rules of the game, nor basic courtesy that is usually given in these cases," Macho said Thursday in Spanish daily El Mundo. "There are always ways to fix cases like these, as long as they are the ones to tell you that they're going to offer the same film to the theater in front of you. But they didn't. Of course, Warner can do what it wants with its films, but I can also do what I want with my theaters. I'm going to lose a lot of money with this, but as the years go by I've learned there are more important things than money, for example dignity."

A source at Warner Bros. International in Burbank said: "We have had an excellent and very successful commerical relationship with Enrique Gonzalez Macho over a number of years. As he is one of the most respected exhibitors in Spain, we regret his decision to withdraw the prints, and we hope we will resume good commercial relations soon." Macho was not immediately available Thursday for comment. Calls Thursday to Almodóvar's production house, El Deseo, were not returned, but in an interview with El Mundo, the out director said the situation is a "big blow" to the film and that they are caught in the middle of something that they had nothing to do with. Bad Education has earned $3.5 million at the box office since its opening March 18, with more than 560,000 ticket sales. The film is due to open the Cannes film festival in May.


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