By Jack Rico
And once again the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) has revealed through its annual Theatrical Marketing Statistics, that Hispanics are the #1 movie going demographic, per capita, for the year 2011 (source: MPAA).
And yet, apart from ShowBizCafe.com’s coverage on its site and partner outlets, coverage for films is still minimal in the Hispanic media landscape. It is picking up, but hopefully it will be bigger by end of decade.
The MPAA, which is an American trade association that represents the six big Hollywood studios, advances the business interests of its members and administers the MPAA film rating system.
Its current Chairman, former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, just at the end of April declared that, “I am confident we can do a better job of serving this growing population [Latinos] with themes that resonate strongly with them. The numbers just jumped out at me,” Dodd told reporters at a briefing at CinemaCon. “I think an effort ought to be made to work at that. You’ve got to be more sensitive about the subject matter than to just have Spanish subtitles,” Dodd said.
Dodd who speaks Spanish fluently, having worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic in his youth, understands that if you want to make the most money at the box office, you have to include Hispanics in your practices.
Hollywood’s top lobbyist said he was not sure if the push should come in terms of the movies that the industry produces or in the way it markets its films.
It really is both. One idea that I myself have been thinking for years, and one day it’ll click for someone over at the top 2 Spanish language broadcasts – Univision or Telemundo – is to adapt their hit telenovelas to the big screen. Telemundo, for example, has the best chance of making this happen because their parent company, Comcast/NBCUniversal, already owns one of the preeminent movie studios in the business with Universal Pictures. Chairman Ron Meyer could have taken Telemundo’s biggest hit – ‘La Reina del Sur’ some time last year, when it was at its zenith shattering ratings in English and Spanish, and have adapted it immediately to the big screen with the same actors, etc. Or who knows, even done a bigger production with Salma Hayek instead of the original actress Kate del Castillo. Nevertheless, why this hasn’t been done yet, even as an experiment defies, my logic. Univision is a little trickier. Historically, they did not produce telenovelas, but its Mexican partner Televisa does. Televisa is very wise to the power of this moviegoing audience and partnered with Lionsgate to create Panteleon Films. So far, no telenovelas have been adapted. But, I applaud them for making a statement to develop and distribute Latino stories for Hollywood and Latino audiences.
, ‘Betty La Fea’ or ‘Pedro Escamoso’ – could have made it to the big screen and be box office specialty hits. Why? There is already a niche fanbase audience, similar to the ‘Twilight Saga’ series, that won’t care about quality or the director behid the cameras, just the extension of their favorite novela.