News Column

Mexico TV star shows Hollywood what Latinos want

November 10, 2013


Mexico TV star shows Hollywood what Latinos want

Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez jokes that it took him 12 years to become an overnight sensation.

The real punch line is that it took much longer.

The writer, director and star of the surprise Hollywood hit "Instructions Not Included" was a virtual unknown among the general audience in the U.S., where the film debuted on Labor Day weekend. Its success was shocking, climbing into the top five box office earners with only a limited release. It's pulled in more than $43 million so far in the U.S. alone, and roughly the same in Mexico. It cost just a bit over $5 million to make.

The story of an Acapulco playboy whose former lover dumps a baby at his door, "Instructions" unfolds as the Derbez character goes to the U.S. to find the girl's mother and becomes a successful movie stunt man and devoted father in the process.

He said the idea for the movie came to him 12 years ago but he couldn't get the money to do it until recently.

"For Americans it was like, 'Where did this guy come from? Why are people going to watch him? Why are people going to his movies? Who is he?"' the 52-year-old Derbez said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But it's been a long time I've spent nurturing this audience in the United States."

Many of those fans are Mexicans who migrated north. Derbez rose to stardom at home in 1992, when he was given his own TV show in Mexico.

Derbez is now so popular in Mexico that the media giant Televisa aired his wedding live last year.

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