by Antonio Mejías-Rentas
RECORD BREAKER: A homegrown movie about U.S. Latinos had the highest grossing opening for a Spanish-language film in the United States this past month.
Ladrón que roba ladrón opened in 340 theaters Aug. 31 and had gross earnings of $2.04 million over the four-day Labor Day holiday weekend, according to distributor Lionsgate Films. It doubled the April 2006 opening of La majer de mi hermano, which took $1.025 million in 205 screens.
Set in Los Angeles, Ladrón tells the story of a couple of professional thieves who plan to rob a rich infommercial king who exploits Latinos—and recruit a group of immigrants for the job. Produced by James McNamara, a former president of the Telemundo network, the film has an international cast led by Mexican Fernando Colunga, Colombian Miguel Varoni and Argentinean SaúI Lizaso.
The film was directed by Cuban-American Joe Menéndez and written by Mexican-North American JoJo Henrickson. McNamara said the film’s success was based on its focus “on its principal market, the U.S. Latino market. This is the only place where you can find [such a mix of nationalities].’’
Producers plan to take the f Im next to Central America.
In a related item, Walt Disney Pictures has begun production on South of the Border, a family comedy about a pampered Beverly Hills chihuahua who gets lost in Mexico and ends up embracing her roots. The film’s human characters are played by U.S. and Latin American actors—including Jamie Lee Cuntis and Manolo Cardona (La mujer de mi hermano)—and more than a dozen animal characters voiced by such stars as Andy Garcia, George López, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marín and Plácido Domingo. Chloe, the chicana chihuabua, is voiced by Drew Barrymore.
Filming is set to begin Sept. 12 in Guadalajara; the production moves next to Mexico City, where it will film at various locations and at the historic Churubusco Studios.
MAS EN ESPANOL: A South Florida TV station owned by the nation’s second- largest radio network has announced it will launch nationally in October, looking to become a third Spanish-language network in the U.S.
Spanish Broadcasting System has signed a deal with satellite television provider DIRECTV, which will carry MEGATV as part of its Spanish-language platform beginning Oct. 17.
“This is the first step in our strategy for expansion and growth for MEGA TV in the United States, SBS CEO Raúl Alarcón Jr. stated in a press announcement.