Hispanics in the U.S. have outpaced teens in moviegoing, per the latest MPAA statistics and startup digital theater circuit Digiplex Destinations has taken note.
Starting April 1, Digiplex will screen tentpole Hollywood pics with both Spanish and English soundtracks in select locations around the country with large Hispanic populations.
“The MPAA findings spurred us to get this going,” said Digiplex prexy-CEO Bud Mayo. “These special engagements will give multi-generational Latino families the opportunity to enjoy great motion picture entertainment together by bridging language gaps.
“For students of Spanish who are native English speakers, these films also present a new and engaging way to improve their skills.”
To encourage Hispanic families to come out during the week, Digiplex will offer pics rated G, PG or PG-13 in Spanish on Mondays in its initial phase.
Most will feature Spanish audio tracks as well as English subtitles. Participating theaters include those in Apple Valley, San Diego and San Bernardino in southern California, plus Reading, Pa.
The MPAA reports that while the average U.S. moviegoer goes to the cinema 4.1 times per year, Hispanics see movies 6.4 times a year and purchase 25% of all tickets sold in the U.S.
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“Hispanics are a big audience segment, though a tricky demographic to cater to with Spanish-language films because there’s an assimilation trend,” said Robert Marich, author of “Marketing to Moviegoers.” “Second- and third-generation Hispanics often transition to English-language entertainment. Some homevideos of Spanish-language movies are actually subtitled into English because of this phenomenon.”
First out the gate is “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” on April 1, 8 and 15; “Oblivion” on April 22 and 29; “Iron Man 3” on May 6 and 13; “Star Trek Into Darkness” on May 20 and “Epic” on May 27. Digiplex will expand titles, show schedules and locations once execs gauge audience response.
Founded in July 2010, Digiplex runs 178 screens in 18 locations across the U.S.
“Our goal is to have 300 screens in 30 locations by the end of this year,” said Mayo, who founded Cinedigm Digital Cinema, which provides much of the technology that converts film to digital.
Aside from mainstream and indie fare, Digiplex has been offering alternative programming including screenings of operas, ballet, sporting events, concerts, documentaries and festival pics.