The Mexican Film Ignored by English-Language Press Blew Up the U.S. Box Office

It goes without saying that it takes a lot of huevos to pit a Spanish-language animated feature against summer blockbuster juggernauts like Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation or The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but that’s exactly what the folks behind Huevocartoon Producciones have done.

It all started back in 2006, when the animated adventure comedy Una película de huevos (tragically translated as A Movie of Eggs) rapidly turned into a Mexican box office sensation, and inspired an equally-cherished sequel (Otra película de huevos y un pollo – we’ll spare you the translation) and a video game. Now directors Rodolfo and Gabriel Riva Palacio are at it again with Un gallo con muchos huevos (luckily they didn’t even bother translating this one), which has been sitting comfortably atop the Mexican box office charts since it was released two weeks ago.

But this time around, thanks to a distribution agreement with Pantelion Films – the powerful studio behind Cantinflas and Instructions Not Included – the Riva Palacio brothers have grabbed their proverbial huevos and taken the latest installment of their franchise to American audiences. Sure enough, the pun-heavy animated feature turned heads this weekend when it premiered squarely in the U.S. box office top 10, clocking in at over $4.4 million and disputing the seventh-place slot with Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Now this is amazing for a number of reasons. First off, Un gallo con muchos huevos was not dubbed into English, but simply left subtitled for otherwise reading-averse American audiences making it the first Spanish-language animated film to be widely released in the U.S. Second, Pantelion didn’t do much in way of marketing it in English and third, Un gallo was only released in 395 theaters throughout the U.S., compared to U.N.C.L.E.’s 2,320. That means Un gallo takes home the prize for highest per-theater average in the country.

Of course, nobody’s released any demographic studies of the audiences for these films, but we can go ahead and assume that Un gallo’s success has been driven almost exclusively by Spanish-speaking Latino audiences. No one reading this article should be particularly surprised by these developments, but this box office fable has a pretty clear-cut moral for Hollywood: wake up and smell the receipts – Latino audiences are here.