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Mexican Film Imports Take Over Hollywood Box Office

Pulling Strings is the latest Mexican import to open well after Eugenio Derbez’s Instructions Not Included broke records for a Spanish language film.  

The Fall season at the movies is turning out to be a winner for films by Latinos for Latinos.  Instructions Not Included remained in the top 10 for four weeks and has taken a total of $41 million in the U.S. alone.  Opening in only 348 theaters, the film took in an outstanding $23,000 per screen when it opened August 30th. Considering most big budget films open in over 2,000 movie screens, the opening took many by surprise and the studio behind the film, Pantelion expanded into a wider release, which paid off.

Five weeks later, Pulling Strings, another comedy produced independently south of the border took in a sizable chunk of box office dollars per screen. The bilingual romantic comedy, starring Mexico’s A-listers Jaime Camil and Omar Chaparro as struggling mariachis, opened to number nine at the box office, but considering it only opened in 387 theaters, each screen earned $6,460.  In comparison, Gravity, the number one film this weekend by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, took in $16,000 per movie theater in 3,575 locations.  Other top 10 films like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Runner Runner (Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck), Prisoners (Hugh Jackman), Rush (Chris Hemsworth), Don Jon (Scarlett Johansson), and Baggage Claim are in over 2,000 movie screens and earned less per screen than Pulling Strings. Technically, Pulling Strings came in at number two if based on per screen average.

Mexico is experiencing a surge at the North American box office with their native son, Alfonso Cuaron receiving award season buzz and coming in at number one with Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  The chances that a Mexican director could take the ultimate Hollywood prize as the first Mexican to win an Oscar in the director category will make this year’s race even more exciting.

Machete-Kills-official-movie-posterHopefully the good streak will continue with Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, which opens October 11th and features a sizable Latino cast.  When we sat down with Rodriguez while promoting Machete Kills, he, too, was excited with the recent success of films targeted to Latinos.
“There’s an authentic voice that’s being presented. It’s changed a lot in the last 20 years.  Since I was there 20 years ago, it was grim. It’s not like it is today. It’s better, but it can get better.”
Another independent film produced in the States looking to capture the Latino audience with the horror genre is Ghost Team One, a spoof of the Paranormal Activity franchise featuring a largely unknown Latino cast.  The Slam Dance Festival favorite has received positive buzz since its debut earlier this year.   

As many we already know, Latinos are the largest movie-going public.  So in Hollywood fashion, expect the studios to churn out some copycats aiming to capture the Latino crowd.  Robert Rodriguez adds the “authentic voices” will be the survivors. “The more voices we gave to Hispanic filmmakers, the more authentic it will be.”

Let’s hope that’s the case.


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