Paramount Pictures has boarded worldwide distribution on two upcoming animated features hailing from Spanish director Enrique Gato. The studio has entered a landmark deal with Telecinco Cinema, Telefónica Studios and Los Rockets AIE on space race adventure Capture The Flag and Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, the sequel to 2012’s Tad, The Lost Explorer. Gato won the Best New Director Goya for The Lost Explorer, a wink to the Indiana Jones series, and the movie also took the screenplay honors last year. It is the highest grossing Spanish animated film of all time with a worldwide haul of about $45M. That film went through Paramount in Spain and this new deal sees the studio look more broadly at international where the movie did strong business with releases throughout Latin America and Europe. The sequel will roll out in 2016. The pact for both films is significant in that it’s the first studio deal on two upcoming Spanish toons. Latin American moviegoers are growing in importance at the international box office, notably in places like Mexico and Brazil, while animation can be smoothly translated for wider audiences. Last year’s Argentine and Spanish 3D football picture Metegol (aka Foosball 3D) was a big hit for Universal.

capture the flagCapture The Flag is inspired by the 1960s space race and sees a ruthless billionaire bent on exploiting the source of Helium 3, the clean energy of the future. His plan involves rewriting history to excise the feats of the Apollo XI astronauts and the Moon landing. Enter headstrong 12-year-old surfer, Mike Goldwing, who along with his friends, a small lizard with delusions of Godzilla-like grandeur, and his grandfather, travels to the Moon to thwart evil. It’s due for release in 2015. Jordi Gasull, a co-writer on The Last Explorer, is creator and co-scripter.

Gasull is also co-scripting the Tad sequel, reuniting with the first film’s Javier Barreira and Neil Landau. David Alonso is co-directing the nex adventure with Gato. Telecinco, Telefonica and animation studio Lightbox Entertainment are all involved again on both films.

Telecinco is a pillar of the Spanish movie business with credits that include the two highest-grossing Spanish movies of all time, this year’s Spanish Affairs and 2012’s Juan Antonio Bayona pic The Impossible. Telefónica is a force in Latin America, with recent productions that include Damián Szifron’s Cannes competition title Wild Tales, Alejandro Amenabar’s Regression and Juan José Campanella’s Metegol.

Axel Kuschevatzky, Director of Telefónica Studios, said today of the Paramount deal, “We do see both projects as a huge leap ahead for Spanish animation in terms of global distribution. It clearly shows the high quality generated by Spanish talent and the commitment of everyone involved. Both movies will appeal to a wide audience worldwide. Spain has an outstanding tradition in the animation field and we are proud to be part of it.”