In 2015, the Hispanic audience bought 23 percent of movie tickets sold in the U.S., per Forbes. That equals about $2.6 billion in box office revenue, so it’s no surprise that Hollywood studios want to acquire and develop movies aimed at the Hispanic market.
In the latest development, NBCUniversal Telemundo has launched Telemundo Films. The goal is to “develop, produce and market feature films in English and Spanish for Hispanic audiences,” according to Deadline.
The first movie to be released will be Lowriders, starring Demián Bichir, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his sterling performance in A Better Life a few years ago. With his head shaved, he portrays a mechanic named Miguel, who is obsessed with the car culture in Boyle Heights, a working-class neighborhood in East Los Angeles.
His teenage son Danny (Gabriel Chavarria) is pulled toward street art, though, and naturally that leads to conflict. Things get more complicated when Danny’s brother Ghost (Theo Rossi) is released from prison. Watch the trailer below, which also features Eva Longoria as Danny’s new stepmother.
Melissa Benoist (TV’s Supergirl) also stars as a photographer who becomes friends with Danny and introduces him to the Los Angeles art world. The trailer leans heavily on familiar imagery — colorful cars and combustible criminals — but holds the promise of showcasing fine performances and perhaps digging a little deeper than the most obvious elements might suggest. Ricardo de Montreuil directed.
It will be interesting to see what projects Telemundo Films acquires and develops. After all, Hispanic moviegoers attend the same English-language movies as everyone else, but sometimes in greater (or lesser) numbers than expected, which can either boost (or weaken) the overall audience for blockbusters, genre pictures and independent films
In addition, they patronize Spanish-language movies, such as the Mexican comedy Un Padre No Tan Padre (above), which opens today in more than 300 theaters nationwide. Telemundo already has vast experience in producing successful television shows for the U.S. Hispanic market, so we’ll see how that translates to feature films.
As for Lowriders, it will open in theaters on May 12.