In the wake of the impressive U.S. box office returns of Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez’s English-language debut “How to be a Latin Lover,” Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture Pantelion Films has renewed its first-look deal with Derbez and producing partner Benjamin Odell’s shingle, 3Pas Studios. The companies inked a first-look pact in August 2014.
The comedy about a gold-digging Lothario getting his comeuppance stars Derbez, Salma Hayek and a clutch of American actors led by Raquel Welch, Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Kristen Bell and Rob Riggle. Ken Marino’s directorial feature debut grabbed the number two slot at the box office the weekend of April 28, grossing $12 million on just 1,118 screens. Its opening weekend audience was 89% Hispanic.
“It has always been our goal to reach deep into the acculturated Hispanic market,” said Pantelion CEO, Paul Presburger, adding: “I think we also accomplished what we have always wanted to do, which is to start bridging across acculturated Latinos to the general market.”
The deal renewal reflects Lionsgate’s commitment to underserved Hispanic audiences in the U.S. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has long been a strong advocate for Pantelion and its initiatives.
“We are really happy to continue our relationship with Pantelion, Lionsgate and Televisa,” said Odell, adding: “They provide us very strong support but allow us a lot of creative freedom as we continue to strengthen the 3pas Brand and expand both into the mainstream and internationally. We couldn’t think of better partners.”
“How to be a Latin Lover” is Pantelion’s second breakout hit with Derbez after his directorial debut “Instructions Not Included,” which became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. ($44 million) and the highest-grossing Mexican film in Mexico ($48 million). Televisa’s distribution arm Videocine releases the comedy in Mexico May 5 on more than 3,000 screens. Hayek will be at the premiere Wednesday in Mexico City.
Founded some two years ago by Derbez and former Pantelion executive Ben Odell, 3Pas Studios has a packed slate of comedies in development.
Next out of the gate is “Overboard,” a remake of Garry Marshall’s ‘80s comedy starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Comedy is slated to start principal photography May 23 in Vancouver with Anna Faris co-starring opposite Derbez.
Aside from remakes of French comedy “The Valet” and Korean comedy “Miss Granny” and live action comedy “Ponce,” 3Pas is also producing animated feature “La Familia Peluche,” based on Derbez’s popular live action TV show that aired on Univision and Televisa.
Lionsgate is also collaborating with Televisa and Starz on the series “Teresa,” based on the popular telenovela, and gearing up for the July launch of the still-unnamed streaming movie service with partners Univision and Hemisphere Media.