Hayek, Derbez say latino made movies have taken off in US

The box-office success of the film “How to Be a Latin Lover,” which entertained the second-largest number of moviegoers last weekend in the United States, plus the growing presence of Latino films in theaters nationwide, indicate an awakening both of the film industry and of Hispanic audiences, Salma Hayek and Eugenio Derbez told EFE.

Produced by Pantelion Films, the studio belonging to Mexico’s Televisa, and distributed by the US firm Lionsgate, “How to Be a Latin Lover” earned a box-office haul of $12.1 million on its first weekend, according to preliminary reports.

That makes it the movie with the second-largest total audience last weekend, even topping “The Circle” featuring such Hollywood stars as Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.

“Incredible but true, for many years (film studios) failed to realize what the Latino community means to the movie industry,” Hayek told EFE.

“Latinos didn’t show that power because they only went to see American movies, and producers were like, why make movies for Latinos if they’ll never go see them?’ she said.

But times have changed and “Eugenio has a lot to do with that – no one ever imagined that a movie in Spanish could be such a hit,” Hayek said with reference to “No Se Aceptan Devoluciones” (Instructions Not Included), Derbez’s first film in the United States that in 2013 became the most viewed Spanish-language film in the history of the country.

For the actress, the way the Hispanic trend is picking up steam has also awakened international interest in this US culture of Latin American origins.

Both Hayek and Derbez noted that to attract a Latino public it is essential to be authentic, so at times they decided to skip the script and go with their gut feelings.

And they did it in two versions, in Spanish and English, making “How to Be a Latin Lover” the first US film to premiere simultaneously in both languages.

“Salma and I used our own voices in Spanish and it really looked like a Mexican movie. The dubbing artists who saw it said ‘Eugenio, this is a Mexican movie,’” Derbez said.

For Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), which promotes the careers of Latinos in US media, studies have shown for several years the power of Hispanics at the box-office.

Figures of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) show that Hispanics are the demographic segment that sees the most movies in the country.

Movies with Latino themes that will premiere in the coming weeks include “Low Riders” starring Demian Bichir and Eva Longoria, the documentary “Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,” “3 Idiotas” with Martha Higareda, and “Beatriz at Dinner” with Salma Hayek.


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