The Spanish box office took a total of $160m (Euro 120m) in the three months to March 29 compared with $180m (Euro 136m) in the same period last year.

Warner Bros’ The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button took the top spot with $16m, followed by Sony’s Seven Pounds ($13m), Filmax’ Slumdog Millionaire ($11.9m) and Warner Bros’ Gran Torino ($10.6m).

The only Spanish film to make it into the top 20 is Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, which has so far taken $3.2m, although local comedy Sex, Pary & Lies has been a surprise hit taking $2.5m since it was released by Sony last Friday. Other local films have failed to make it to the $1m mark and only one co-production, Che: Part 2 (US-Spain-France) passed that to make $1.1m.

Local distributors have already performed better than last year with Filmax (Slumdog), Onpics (The Reader) and Wanda (Bienvenidos Al Norte) all breaking the stranglehold of the US studios by making it into the top 10. Only Onpics managed it last year with Mortadelo Y Filemon. Mission: Save The Planet.

There are a number of other Spanish projects from leading directors due this year, including Alejandro Amenebar’s hotly anticipated historical epic Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, Fernando Trueba’s The Dancer And The Thief, and horror sequel [Rec] 2, as well as projects from new directors, such as Daniel Sanchez Aravelo’s Gordos and Oskar Santos’ El Mal Ajeno.