Spanish-Language Animated ‘Un Gallo’ Racks Up Big Labor Day Box Office

A Mexican animated film about a plucky rooster facing off against a cruel rancher was a stealth winner at an otherwise lackluster Labor Day Weekend box office.

“Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos,” which translated into English means “a rooster with many eggs,” racked up an impressive $4.4 million over the four-day holiday across a mere 395 screens, a fraction of the number of locations reserved for major summer releases like “Straight Outta Compton” or “Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation.”

Its success follows a pattern established by its U.S. distributor Pantelion Films, which has previously used Labor Day as a launching pad for hits like last year’s “Cantinflas,” a biopic about the Mexican comedian, and 2013’s “Instructions Not Included,” which remains the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in history. That hot streak is unique given that Labor Day is historically seen as a dumping ground for major studios, and this past holiday was the worst in a decade in terms of receipts.

“It’s a big family weekend for Hispanics and they tend to go to the movies as a family,” said Paul Presburger, Pantelion’s chief executive officer. “It’s known as a weekend where major studios don’t release many new pictures, so where they’re zigging, we’re zagging.”

In Mexico, “Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos” has topped charts and racked up big numbers. It’s the third film in an animated trilogy, but the first one to score a theatrical release in this country. To drum up excitement for the film, Pantelion targeted Hispanic adults between 25 to 49 years old and kids 6 to 11 years old. The studio advertised heavily on drive-time radio ads on Mexican and Spanish contemporary music stations and had talent appearances at supermarkets in neighborhoods with major Latino populations.

The company is a joint venture between Lionsgate and Televisa, and it leaned extensively on Televisa’s Univision network to hawk “Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos” and on other Spanish-language networks like Telemundo, deploying the film’s stars like Omar Chaparro and Bruno Bichir to appear on popular morning programs.

Next weekend, Pantelion will expand the number of theaters to approximately 580 screens. The hope is that with “Hotel Transylvania 2” not opening into late September, “Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos” can be the de facto choice for Hispanic family audiences.

“We have a pretty clear runway,” said Presburger, who notes that combined with the Mexican grosses, the film is already profitable.

For Pantelion, it validates the bet its backers made that the studio could appeal to the burgeoning population of Latino moviegoers. Market research shows that Hispanics are more likely than any other ethnic group to purchase movie ticket, making them a valuable audience for films to attract.

“These movies come out and they take everybody by surprise,” he added. “But we’ve been seeding the market and developing the market for five years. We’re committed to making culturally relevant films for this audience.”

Now the big choice in front of Presburger and his team is what film to release next Labor Day.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

  • Aracne

    Sanfic Standout ‘Aracne’ Filmmakers Discuss the State of Chilean Genre

    A key project at this year’s Santiago Lab, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival industry forum for promising Latin American projects, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” is representative of a push from the next generation of Chilean filmmakers into genre cinema and the themes it can explore. “Aracne” turns on Beatriz, a young journalist at a small Santiago [...]

  • Eduardo Machuca

    Chile’s Eduardo Machuca Unveils Machuca Films Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    SANTIAGO, Chile – Eduardo Machuca, the former film co-ordinator of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has launched his own production company, Machuca Films. “After 25 years at the ministry, I felt I needed to tap my creative side,” said Machuca, who is also tying the knot on Saturday (Aug. 24) with a former Sanfic staffer, [...]

  • Robert Downey Jr. Disney Legends Ceremony,

    Robert Downey Jr. Reveals He Was Busted for Smoking Pot at Disneyland

    Robert Downey Jr. celebrated his Disney Legend status by sharing the endearing tale of how the first time he visited Disneyland, he was arrested. The Iron Man actor was being honored in Anaheim at Disney’s biennial D23 convention. After a brief introduction by Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger, Downey felt he had to come [...]

  • Thandie Newton Reminiscence

    Thandie Newton Reteams With 'Westworld's' Lisa Joy on 'Reminiscence' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following her Emmy win for her performance on “Westworld,” Thandie Newton is joining the feature directorial debut of the show’s co-creator. Sources tell Variety that Newton is set to join Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in Warner Bros.’ “Reminiscence,” directed by “Westworld’s” Lisa Joy. WB acquired the rights to the package after this year’s Berlin [...]

  • Ming-Na Wen poses at the Disney

    Original 'Mulan' Star Ming-Na Wen Weighs in on Remake's Controversy

    Ming-Na Wen, who played the leading voice role in the original 1998 version of “Mulan,” has spoken out about the recent controversy surrounding Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake, which has been co-opted by China’s authoritarian regime to attack Hong Kong protestors. “We are living in a world right now where there’s so much change and confusion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content