A publicity stunt has reaped solid box office results for Spanish/Mexican co production Asesino En Serio in Mexico.

In a bid to replicate the controversy-driven box office success of El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, Altavista organised a street protest against the dark comedy at its premiere. Only when the local press started asking the picketers representing The Women For Good Behaviour League who they worked for did they reveal that they were hired by Altavista.

"With so much competition out there, we've had to find innovative ways to drum up publicity," said Monica Lozano, CEO of Altavista and sister distribution company, Nuvision. She cites Nuvision's use of women in bridal gowns who gave out tokens during the premiere of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Directed by Antonio Urrutia and co produced by Spanish actor Santiago Segura's Amiguetes, the $1.8m comedy has attracted 500,000 admissions over the past two weeks and is on track to reach the target 1.5m admissions it needs to break even.

Nuvision released it on more than 270 prints and spent over $100,000 for p & a. Asesino currently ranks second in the box office, after the X-Men 2 juggernaut which nabbed 50% of the market share.

Based on the novel by Javier Valdes, the comedy follows a detective's efforts to track down a serial killer who kills his victims with erotic pleasure. It features Segura, Jesus Ochaa, Ivonne Montero, Gabriel Roel and Rafael Inclan.