Salma Hayek’s latest film “How to Be a Latin Lover” raked in $12 million in its first weekend. The comedy played in only 1,118 theaters nationwide and still managed to land in the No. 2 spot at the box office.
But many Latinos, including Hayek, aren’t surprised about the film’s success.
“Incredible but true, for many years (film studios) failed to realize what the Latino community means to the movie industry,” Hayek told the Spanish international news agency 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?’”
Pantelion-Lionsgate, the studio behind “Latin Lover,” told The New York Times on Sunday that the film drew an audience that was 89 percent Hispanic. For celebrities like Mexican-American comedian Cristela Alonzo, the figure should send a clear message to Hollywood that Latino moviegoers need to be taken seriously.
“We know that we need to provide something in these films that the Latino viewer wouldn’t be able to get from the big Hollywood films,” Edward Allen, chief operating officer of Pantelion, told HuffPost in 2015. “And a big part of that is the story, the setting and the cast.”
“Look, there’s a demographic shift,” he added. “Either you plan for it or somebody else will.”