The exclusive deal with Derbez underscores the high stakes of reaching the coveted Hispanic moviegoing audience — a fast-growing demographic at the box office.
Derbez starred in and directed Pantelion’s hit “Instructions Not Included,” the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. at $44 million. The film grossed another $55 million outside the U.S.
“Pantelion and Televisa can reach my core fan base better than anyone and, with the distribution expertise and brand recognition of Lionsgate, I know we can build on the crossover audience that we began to reach with ‘Instructions,'” Derbez said.
Derbez also starred in 2007’s “Under the Same Moon,” which took in about half of its $23 million worldwide in the U.S.
“The Valet,” written and directed by Francis Veber, was released in 2006 and grossed $29 million worldwide. The story centers on a parking valet and a top model who have to pretend to be a couple in order to salvage a CEO’s marriage.
Pantelion, a partnership between Lionsgate and Mexican media conglom Grupo Televisa, made the deal with Derbez’s newly-launched 3Pas Studios production company. 3Pas, a partnership with former Pantelion President of Production Benjamin Odell, will focus on Spanish and English-language films targeting Latino and crossover audiences in the U.S.
“One of the keys to Pantelion’s continued successful evolution is the roster of cross-cultural A-list stars it is assembling,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “Nobody is better able to deliver films reflecting the universal themes that will continue to build Pantelion‘s brand and audience than Eugenio Derbez, an incredible talent who has already generated tremendous momentum for the label with the success of ‘Instructions Not Included.’”
Derbez and Odell worked together on 2006’s “Sangre de Mi Sangre,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Odell also produced Pantelion’s 2012 release “Girl in Progress,” starring Eva Mendes, Patricia Arquette and Derbez, and is producing Pantelion’s upcoming drama “Spare Parts,” starring Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis and George Lopez, scheduled for release on Jan. 16.
“Eugenio wanted to name the company 3Pas or tripas, which means ‘guts’ in Spanish,” Odell said. “That’s where he has made all his career decisions — from the gut — and it has brought him unparalleled success. No one has been able to crack the Hispanic market like Eugenio and, in partnership with Pantelion, I am certain we will continue to build on that success.”
Derbez is represented by CAA and attorney Howard Abramson of Behr & Abramson LLP.