Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International has picked up Spanish rights to Mexican hit The Crime Of Father Amaro (El Crimen Del Padre Amaro) following the company's move last week to take up its first-look option to distribute the film worldwide outside North America and Mexico.

The deal was negotiated at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 19-28) by Ernesto Victoria, GM of Columbia TriStar in Spain, and Jose Maria Morales, head of Spanish co-producer Wanda Vision, which previously held rights in Spain.

"The film has been such a phenomenon in Mexico that we couldn't pass up on the opportunity to distribute it worldwide, and the deal with Wanda in Spain will enable us to reach the widest audience possible in a country where we think the film has a lot of potential," says Sal Ladestro, Columbia SVP of marketing and distribution, acquisitions and local productions, who confirmed the move at San Sebastian, where the film screens in competition this week.

Directed by Carlos Carerra and starring Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Crime is the top grossing domestic hit ever in its native Mexico. The film is expected to premiere in Spain in November.

Samuel Goldwyn Films has rights to North America. Crime is a co-production between Mexico's Alameda Films in association with Wanda Vision (Spain), Art Cam (France), Cinecolor (Argentina), Blu Films (Mexico), and the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE).