EXCLUSIVE: Mucho Mas Media, a partnership between Pelican Point Media and Texican Media, has pacted with Brillstein Entertainment Partners to co-produce feature films with mainstream appeal for the growing U.S. Latino audience. And this segment of the population is, indeed, taking off in the entertainment sector.
“I grew up on the South Texas border, so I always had one foot in Mexico and one foot in the U.S.,” said Mucho Mas’ Javier Chapa. “When I moved out to Hollywood 14 years ago, I saw how underserved our community was and also Latino moviegoers were. This is a way to provide jobs for Latino writers and filmmakers and also give us a voice.”
The first projects, which are planned for production this year, will focus primarily on high-concept comedies and thriller-horror films in the budget range of $2.5M and below. Yep, smart move as Mama, Paranormal, The Devil Inside, Insidious and even the Jennifer Lopez thriller The Boy Next Door were shown to have heavy attendance from the Hispanic segment of the demographic market. And these horror films, as Blumhouse has proved, can be made very cheaply and generate a big profit.
The move comes as AMC, iPics and others in exhibition are expanding their chains for the Spanish-speaking population. Even some savvy business people in Hollywood such as Lionsgate (which has Pantelion films) and Mark Burnett and Roma Downey understand the strength of the market. The latter actually cut a separate version of their film Son Of God in Spanish and put into theaters that cater to Hispanics. Not surprisingly, Mucho Mas Media and Pelican Point are looking for a faith-based film catering to the Latino market.
“Our focus is to make films that are universal and mainstream but happen to have a Latino protagonist,” said Pelican Point Media’s Labid Aziz. “We are open to producing an all Spanish-language film, bilingual or English-language projects.”
Nielsen/NRG put out a study two years ago that revealed the buying power of the Latino market, especially in entertainment. That study showed that U.S. Hispanics tend to go to movies as a family unit and that, although they made up about 18% of the total moviegoing population, this segment comprised 25% of all movies and also saw movies more frequently than any other racial/demo group. Interesting to note that California has the largest percentage per capita of Hispanics in the country, according to another research group, PewResearch.
Corporate America’s consumer product manufacturers have known this for ages and started marketing very specifically to Hispanics decades ago. Some of the top advertisers in the Spanish-speaking market consistently have been Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Bancorp, AT&T, Toyota, GM, Verizon, General Mills, Dish Networks and Kraft. So it would be very easy for Brillstein and Mucho to grab corporate marketing promotional partners for these films. A single marketing partner could add roughly $40M in value for a film’s marketing campaign. They are also planning to tap into social media in a major way.
How did the partnership come about? Aziz said that Brillstein’s Jai Khanna manages some of his friends. “They had been talking about what a champion of their careers he had been, so I reached out to Jai and shared a couple of scripts with him, and the alliance came from that excitement over those projects,” he said. “When we started talking about this in December, we had preliminary conversations with a number of filmmakers, and we quickly realized that they were looking for more partners and alliance to produce and distribute their movies. We want to align with strong filmmakers and give them a home. We felt that Brillstein was a perfect partner for us.”
The Mucho management team is composed of co-founders Chapa of Texican Media and Ike Suri and Aziz of Pelican Point Media. Chapa will lead Mucho’s creative team. He recently completed production on Aztec Warrior starring Luis Guzman and also featuring Eugenio Derbez, which will be distributed by Pantelion/Lionsgate Films.
Aziz will take a lead role in overseeing Mucho’s day-to-day business and strategy leveraging his 20 years of media experience as a producer/executive. “With our core team and partners, we will be a one-stop shop for financing, producing, marketing and distributing,” said Aziz. “Outside of our own projects, we are also looking to distribute finished films by and for Latinos.” Good news for many Hispanics in this industry.
Ike Suri is the co-founder and co-CEO of Pelican Point Capital Partners, LLC., parent of Pelican Point Media, which is a boutique merchant bank with several investment and operating focus areas including film production and finance. Suri recently executive produced Cabin Fever: Reboot with Eli Roth and Cassian Elwes, Daughter Of God with Keanu Reeves and Fortitude International and Intruder with Moby and Cassian Elwes. “We are excited about the efforts at Mucho Mas Media, especially with the prepared content and partnerships we have established,” said Suri in a statement.
Khanna from Brillstein will oversee the collaboration between Brillstein and Mucho on these upcoming film projects.