Reuters reported that Spanish-language film, “Instructions Not Included” was one of the top grossing movies of its opening weekend, ranking fifth in U.S. theaters over the Labor Day holiday weekend. This English-subtitled movie raked in $10 million in ticket sales for its four-day opening, which was record breaking for a Spanish-language film in the U.S. Opening in only 347 movie theaters, “Instructions” earned an average of $28,818 per screen, which was more than four times the average of the weekend’s top film, “Lee Daniel’s, The Butler.” Despite Latinos being heavy moviegoers, the surprise success of “Instructions” came as a shock as Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office division of Hollywood.com stated, “No one saw this coming.” According to Motion Picture Association of America, last year Latinos purchased 26 percent of all tickets sold, resulting in 10.9 million tickets. “Hispanics were the heaviest moviegoers, as they represent 18 percent of the movie going population but accounted for 25 percent of all movies seen,” said media research company Nielsen, in a separate study. “Hispanics were also the only demographic group that went to more movies in 2012 than in the prior year – 9.5 movies on average compared with 8.5 in 2011.”
This film is distributed by Pantelion, a merged effort between Lionsgate Entertainment and Mexico’s Televisa. Pantelion, whose creation was announced in 2010 by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Grupo Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga, plans on producing eight to ten films a year aimed at the Latino market in the U.S. and Mexico, striving to match the success Lionsgate has with the African-American market through films it distributes for Tyler Perry.
“Instructions Not Included” is about an Acapulco playboy who was forced to care for a baby girl left on his doorstep. In order to reach the Latino market for “Instructions Not Included,” Pantelion advertised on Telemundo, Univision, and other Spanish-language channels as well as on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Fandango that are greatly used by Latinos. Pantelion also depended on the film’s star, popular Mexican TV star, Eugenio Derbez, to promote the movie to his Twitter and Facebook followers. Pantelion’s Chief Executive Paul Presburger commented, “The strength of this film is that it has had great world of mouth, and he’s a big part of that.”
“Instructions” is expanding to 500 theaters and will be marketed to a broader “crossover” audience, as well. It opens in Mexico later in September.
According to United States Census information, Latinos make up 16 percent of the total U.S. population and 23 percent of the population under the age of 18. And Hollywood has caught on to the fact that we enjoy going to the movies. We will see if Hollywood fully catches up and provides content and actors that speak to us and tell our stories. We have proven with “Instructions Not Included,” that if they build it, we will come.
By Being Latino Contributor, Marcos Hand