Last weekend saw “Instructions Not Included,” a comedy starring Mexico’s Eugenio Derbez, make history by becoming the country’s most successful Spanish-language film ever.
“Instructions” took in $3.4 million to reach an accumulated total of $38.6 million, surpassing the previous record of $37.6 million belonging to “Pan’s Labyrinth,” by director Guillermo del Toro.
The Derbez movie - he directs as well as stars - also joins the group of four foreign films with the biggest box office in the history of the United States, together with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” from Taiwan, Italy’s “Life is Beautiful,” and the Chinese film “Hero.”
In “Instructions Not Included”, Derbez, 52, acts the part of a playboy whose life is changed when he is left with a daughter he never knew he was going to have, the result of one of his countless casual flings.
“Instructions Not Included” is distributed by Pantelion, a joint venture of Hollywood’s Lionsgate Entertainment and Mexican-based Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language media conglomerate.
Paul Presburger, executive director of Pantelion, cites Derbez’s popularity as the main reason for the film’s success.
“He’s the biggest star you never heard of,” Presburger said, referring to Derbez’s appeal in Mexico and among U.S. Hispanics.
Latinos make up 25 percent of the total movie audience in the United States, according to Nielsen, but in recent years few films have been made to specifically appeal to them.