Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s thriller Intruders has had a strong debut in Spain. Madrid-based Apaches Entertainment (which also produced), in partnership with Universal Pictures International and Antena 3, took in $1.47m (€1.1m) in the opening weekend, topping the Spanish box-office chart and making it the fourth-biggest opening for a Spanish film so far in 2011. The film opened at 377 locations, for an impressive site average of $4178 UD (€3070).

Intruders had a good start in Toronto and mixed reactions when it recently opened the San Sebastian Film Festival. Clive Owen stars in the psychological drama about British and Spanish families who are being harassed by the same mysterious boogeyman.

Daniel Brühl, Carice Von Houten and Pilar López de Ayala complete the cast.

Intruders has a lot of genres on it, thriller, melodrama or terror, and we wondered how the public might react. Now we can affirm that the audience is connecting with its particular universe,” Apaches producer Enrique López Lavigne told Screen.

Intruders is the third movie by Madrid-based Fresnadillo, after 2001’s Intacto and 2007’s international hit 28 Weeks Later. The latter, a sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, had a budget of $20m, and it grossed more than $60m worldwide.

Intruders, with a budget of $13.5m (€10m), fits Lavigne’s intention “to make films with a great appeal and appearance with a tight budget”.

Universal is releasing internationally, with the exception of the US, where Millennium has just announced its acquisition.

Intruders has mostly English-language dialogue, with some Spanish. Lavigne adds that “movies are international and nobody cares where they come from since the movie explains a good story”. His biggest challenge will come next year, when his company opens worldwide The Impossible, a €30m-budgeted movie directed by Spanish star Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage).

Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, The Impossible might arrive next spring or autumm and is set during the 2004 Thailand tsunami.

Lavigne’s recent projects also include Verbo, a hip-hop-flavoured teenage drama directed by Eduardo Chapero Jackson, and Extraterrestre, Nacho Vigalondo’s second movie after Timecrimes.

Intruders’ triumph at the box office comes in a particularly good week for spanish movies. Another San Sebastian selection, Enrique Urbizu’s critically acclaimed No Rest For The Wicked (No habrá paz para los malvados) stood in second place; Capitan Trueno debuted at 8 and Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In is at 10. Spanish movies had last week 35% of market share, signaling that 2011 would have the best local film performance in a decade.