Disney/Pixar’s Coco ‘takes the tamale’ at the box office….
Every Thanksgiving weekend, there is one blockbuster must-see movie – the one where the whole entire familia goes in one van or 2 cars, race together to get into the line that winds around the corner. You know this drill. We, parents spend a fortune at the snack bar while the kids race again after the theater doors open, to grab the best seats in the house. Our family takes up the whole row.
Without question, Disney/Pixar’s latest film, ‘Coco’, is the movie that is worth the family’s hustle and bustle to the theater.
Let’s talk $ numbers: According to Box Office Mojo, the animated box office hit brought in grossed ‘$49 million for the three-day domestic weekend’. As of Sunday, November 26 – $72,908,930. The six year project hit the mark both financially, culturally and universally (see China).
Now, earlier in the making of ‘Coco’, Disney/Pixar raised a big red flag by attempting to trademark ”Día de los Muertos“, the name of a holiday so dear to the Mexican/Latino community. The public backlash provided Disney/Pixar with insight and awareness of their (cough) ‘blindspot’, so lesson learned – they hired three key Latino/Mexican consultants: Marcela Davison Avilés, Mexican Heritage Corp. president, playwright Octavio Solis and cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz, who boldly voiced the issue of trademarking ‘cultura‘, via social media through an illustrated ‘Muerto Mouse‘ that happen to go viral. “And even though I’m not very corporate, they listened to what I had to say” says Lalo Alcaraz of Disney/Pixar via a Washington Post article.
A potential pre-movie watch warning – there are reports that surfaced on social media that Disney/Pixar’s animated film, ‘Frozen’, a ‘short’ film (so they say) plays prior to Coco. So being late, might not be such a bad thing.
‘Coco’ is the story of 12-year old Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) who has a dream to become a musician just like his great, great grandfather. With his guitar always in hand, songs like “Recuerdame/Remember Me” sung by Miguel and his abuelita Coco, will pull hard on the heart strings. Note: If you are gift shopping for kids, a nice merchandising Disney/Pixar, Guitar Center and Cordoba collaborative touch, Miguel‘s guitar in the movie , mini-replicas are available at select Guitar Centers nationwide.
Authentically told, ‘Coco’ captures Mexican heritage without the stereotypical caricatures in the past, from the experience of eating tamales to the story’s backdrop is “Santa Cecilia” the town where Miguel’s family is from, modeled after vibrant Oaxaca and the music rich embedded with folklorico elements. Its theme of spirituality and heartfelt messages of what happens with an intergenerational family – the good and the bad, would make any man cry, and some did (if you take a peek at your movie going neighbors, tears.)
Don’t forget the box of tissues, yes, you will need it.
Above all, the resonance and good truths validate the Latino/Mexican experience and narrative; a narrative twisted into a negative here in the US, where tensions run high in the race and identity context of how Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are portrayed. It’s too familiar – we see our heritage, our food, our relatives, we see OURSELVES. The whole world gets to see US. How could a charming animated film, do that? And can it be done more, please?!
Of course, lending to Coco’s authenticity would be the all-star voice over ‘Latino’ cast of Edward James Olmos, Benjamin Bratt, Gael Bernal Garcia, Gabriel Iglesias, Sofia Espinosa, Cheech Marin, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil and many more. Coco is directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.
Disney/Pixar ‘hit it out of the Disney park’ with “Coco”, the family movie of the year, in our book! It will not disappoint! A big abrazo and gracias to the Disney/Pixar team.