Following its bumper U.S. box office and Oscar-nom trawl for Pan’s Labyrinth, Picturehouse has closed U.S. rights on another Spanish-language fantasy horror film, again sold by France’s Wild Bunch, and again associated with Guillermo del Toro.
Variety says the film is Jose Antonio Bayona’s gothic ghost story El Orfanato (The Orphanage), which was produced by Joaquin Padro and Mar Targarona’s Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar. They teamed with broadcaster Telecinco’s Estudios Picasso, which bankrolled “Labyrinth.”
From a screenplay by Spain’s Sergio Sanchez, “Orphanage” turns on a mother (Belen Rueda, The Sea Inside) who takes over the orphanage in which she was raised. But her young son begins to play with an imaginary friend, the same imaginary friend that terrorized her when she was a child.
Del Toro co-produced the film, acting as creative supervisor, tutoring first-time helmer Bayona.