Óscar Jaenada is ready to bring the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico to life in U.S. theaters this weekend…
The 39-year-old Spanish actor is starring as the late, great Mexican actor Cantinflas in the Spanish-language bio-drama of the same name.
Written and directed by Sebastian del Amo, Cantinflas is an “untold story” from his humble beginnings to Hollywood and international stardom. Pantelion Films is betting on the enduring popularity of late Mexican actor, whose real name is Mario Moreno, as it brings the title to primarily Latino U.S. audiences this weekend
“We began our discussions with the film’s producers about a year ago,” said Pantelion’s Edward Allen. “Cantinflas as a character has no comparison in America. Unlike American actors [of his generation] Cantinflas is still a part of regular viewing for people of Latin American descent. They see him here all the time through sources like Telemundo and Univision. He appeals across generations.”
From the mid-1930s up until his death in 1993, Cantinflas was Mexico’s most beloved and iconic comedian. He starred in dozens of movies in his native country, often playing impoverished campesinos, before his Hollywood debut. He became known to U.S. audiences for his award-winning role in 1956’s Around the World in 80 Days.
Last year Pantelion hit box office gold with Instructions Not Included. The comedy grossed $44 million, the most of any Spanish-language title in the States. It will go after a similar audience with Cantinflas partnering with Spanish-language media in the U.S. and some non-media partners to spread the word.
“We are doing grass-roots marketing, partnering with supermarkets that cater to Latin American [clientele],” added Allen. “In L.A. we’re doing an outdoor campaign, but also saturating Spanish-language media across all channels.”
Instructions Not Included opened in 348 theaters grossing $7.84 million on August 30, nearly one year ago. It is clearly taking a cue from that successful roll out with a similar strategy with Cantinflas opening in over 380 theaters around the country.
“It will mirror the Latino population across the country,” added Allen. “We will expand based on performance and adjust the plan accordingly.”
In addition to Jaenada, the film also stars Michael Imperioli, Ilse Salas, Bárbara Mori, Ana Layevska and Adal Ramones.