MORELIA — A week after “Coco,” Disney/Pixar’s Day of the Dead-themed toon, marks its world premiere at the Morelia Int’l Film Festival on Oct. 20 it rolls out across Mexico to coincide with the country’s Day of the Dead festivities, roughly a month before it bows in the U.S., quite an unprecedented move.

“It’s quite unusual but the movie is so much a love letter to the country of Mexico,” said Dave Hollis, president, theatrical distribution, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s a celebration of the family, of Mexico’s culture, of its music,” he said, adding: “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

“Coco” opens Oct. 27 at some 795 theaters in Mexico, roughly 2,000 screens. In the U.S., it debuts Nov. 22, a day before the Thanksgiving holiday, opening day and date with some other territories while others follow suit.

Another Disney label, Marvel, opens all its titles overseas before the U.S. as part of Disney’s bid to time its world premieres with holidays and in terms of relevance, Hollis pointed out.

Animation is big business in Mexico, after all, where the genre’s box office earnings sometimes still top those of Brazil, now a larger territory because of the devaluation of the peso (see chart). Mexico is a Top 10 animation market for Disney with its most recent animated features scoring in the low-mid $20 million range in the country. “ ‘Coco’ has all the important elements to succeed in Mexico: it’s a family film in a country that favors such films and has a large youth population,” said Luis Vargas, ComScore executive director, Latin America.

As part of an extensive marketing campaign that includes outdoor ads, local artist-inspired murals and bespoke social content, a “Coco” – themed float will grace the Dia de Muertos Parade in Mexico City on Oct. 28.

“Coco” revolves around a young boy who defies his family’s shoemaking tradition and ban on music to pursue his dream to become a musician. He finds himself in the Land of the Dead following a baffling chain of events where he teams up with a slick charmer called Hector, voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal in both the English and Spanish versions of the film.

With more than 25 different characters in the film, Pixar assembled a stellar voice cast  that includes Edward James Olmos, Benjamin Bratt, Luis Valdez, Jaime Camil, comics Cheech Marin and Gabriel Iglesias for its English-language dub and five-time Latin Grammy winner Marco Antonio Solís for the Spanish-language. Valdez. like Garcia Bernal, performs in both English and Spanish-language versions.

“Coco’s” Latin American original soundtrack includes Carlos Rivera performing a version of “Remember Me” in the end-credit roll. The Latin American version will also include additional ‘inspired by’ tracks by local artists Karol Sevilla, Jorge Blanco, Bronco and La Santa Cecilia.

Top Latin American Animation Markets, July 1 to Sept 30, 2017

Territory Box Office in US Dollars Admissions
Argentina 36,870,027 6,009,491
Brasil 56,309,338 12,935,830
Mexico 49,623,275 20,535,413

Source: ComScore