It’s rare for a film in Spanish or Portuguese to make it to a U.S. theater. Even within Latin America or Spain, it’s difficult for local films to compete against Hollywood blockbusters. Once in a while, against all odds, Latino films triumph at their local box office. Juan Carlos Rulfo’s De Panzazo (Barely Passing), a Mexican documentary that denounces the education system, clobbered Oscar-nominated films The Artist (ISA:Wild Bunch) in Mexico and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close taking in $870,000 on its opening weekend this past February. Last year’s Violeta se fue a los cielos (Violeta Went to Heaven) (ISA:Latido Films) peaked as the second highest grossing film in its final weekend in Chilean theaters, beating out Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (ISA: Imagina) and the Green Lantern. It ended up being the highest grossing Chilean film of 2011. Directed by the renowned filmmaker Andrés Wood, it was selected as Chile’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and had its U.S. premiere at Sundance earlier this year. These successes are hard to come by, but a lucky few make it. Here are the most recent box office numbers on the Latino films that broke into the top ten.
The Spanish horror film [REC]³ Génesis (ISA:Filmax) reached number nine in Mexico making $350,251. The film is the 3rd sequel in the [REC] franchise. Quarantine was an American remake of the original [REC]. In the U.S. it will be released on Video on Demand on August 3, and a limited run in theaters starts September 7, 2012.
[REC]³ Génesis made less money in Argentina ($150,391), but reached a higher spot, as the sixth highest grossing film of the weekend.
Ninth place went to Extraños en la noche (Strangers in the Night), a locally produced romantic comedy about a young couple who work as musicians, unhappily performing for tourists.
Having premiered at Tribeca last week, Xingu (ISA:Rezo Films), a story about environmental activism and inspired by true events in a village of Brazilian Xingu Indians took the ninth spot making $246,772.
Grupo 7 (Unit 7), a Spanish crime thriller about a police unit on an extremely dangerous special mission, came in at number nine with $282,116. It was just awarded a Special Jury Mention at the Tribeca Film Festival for Best Cinematography.
The most recent box office statistics available on Box Office Mojo for Latin America and Spain are from the weekend of April 20, 2012.