Drama starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor sells 1m tickets and marks a historic record.

Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible has performed above expectations in Spain on its opening weekend, selling more than 1m tickets by Saturday (Oct 13). The film opened in Spain on Thursday as a result of Friday’s national holiday and it has resulted in the biggest three-day and four-day debut of all time.

The film opened with 420 copies on 633 screens, going straight to number seven in the worldwide box office. Sunday results are yet to be announced but it’s already the biggest weekend of the year at the Spanish box office, despite fears that the VAT rise of tickets could harm the expected success of the film.

Produced by Apaches Entertainment and Telecinco Cinema, and distributed in Spain through Warner Bros Entertainment, the film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as parents who fight to keep their children and themselves alive amidst one of the worst natural disasters of our time.

The Impossible was written by Sergio G. Sánchez, who already had success with Bayona’s debut feature The Orphanage, and was critically acclaimed in Toronto, as well as receiving a warm reception in San Sebastian where it had its European premiere.

With a $50m budget, The Impossible is already sold to virtually all territories worldwide. Premiere is expected on Dec 21 in the US; 21 Nov in France and 2 Jan in the UK.

According to analysts, The Impossible is also a serious contender for the Spanish Goya Awards.

The historic success of The Impossible came in a very good weekend for Spanish cinema with local title Tad, The Lost Explorer at number two in the box office. The good results of Blancanieves and The Artist And The Model boosted the local market share to 68.2%.