After six weeks on release, Fox International's If I Were You 2 (Se Eu Fosse Voce 2) has out-performed the highest grossing film of 2008, Warner Bros' The Dark Knight, to become one of the most successful local films of all time in Brazil. With revenues of $17m (r$39.1m) to date - The Dark Knight grossed $14.2m (r$32.7m) - the romantic comedy has overtaken the 2005 hit Two Sons Of Francisco which garnered $16m (r$36.7m) in 2005. However, in terms of admissions Two Sons remains ahead with 5.3 million tickets sold, against If I Were You 2's 4.5 million. Rising ticket prices account for this.
The film still falls short of Bruno Barreto's Dona Flor And Her Two Husbands which sold 10.7 million tickets in 1976. But comparisons in the territory are difficult due to vastly different market conditions at that time when Brazil had more than 3,000 screens compared with around 2,100 today. Box-office revenues cannot be easily compared as the Brazilian currency changed several times in the 1980s and 1990s due to high inflation rates.
If I Were You 2 was produced by Total Entertainment, in association with Lereby Producoes and Globo Filmes, the film arm of leading Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo. Directed by Daniel Filho, the film broke Brazil's opening weekend record for a local film by grossing $2.4m (r$5.6m) from 309 screens. It overtook the previous biggest opener, Carandiru, which took $1.5m (r$3.5m) on its opening weekend in 2003.
The biggest local film of last year was Meu Nome Nao E Johnny, which grossed $7.8m (r$18m).
The success of the If I Were You films can be partly explained by the popularity of the cast: Tony Ramos and Gloria Pires. They are among the most beloved TV stars in Brazil, where TV personalities are the country's most famous celebrities. Director Filho is also a veteran of the TV world.
The couple who switched bodies in the first film again face the supernatural experience in the sequel. After they decide to file divorce papers, husband and wife reverse roles, forcing themselves to see the relationship from the point of view of their opposite. To complicate matters their 18-year-old daughter reveals she is pregnant.
Romantic comedy is a genre that works well in Brazil, where the local brand of romcom usually attracts audiences of at least 500,000.
Neither of Warner Bros' recent releases The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($1.3m to date) and Yes Man ($505,000) - which are second and third in this week's chart - has managed to steal the number-one slot from If I Were You 2 since they debuted four and two weeks ago, respectively. Twentieth Century Fox's Bride Wars opened this weekend and reached fourth position, with a gross of $480,000 (r$1.1m), while If I Were You 2 garnered $740,000 (r$1.7m) after more than a month on release.
The success of the second film has boosted talk of an English-language remake of the original, and Fox is now considering a further sequel.