Today, I read two articles and couldn't help but feel they should actually be side by side. The first, THR's "Box Office 2012: 5 Hard Lessons" lists number four as "Boomers & Hispanics: The New Sweet Spot," pointing to the success of films like the Hispanic-targeted End of Watch and "Latino-centered Ice Age." Hispanics are not only a growing demographic in the U.S., they watched 25% of movies while only representing 17% of the population.. So perhaps it's no surprise that the latest Pixar movie to be added to the slate is the "Untitled Pixar Movie About the Día de los Muertos," which will be directed by Lee Unkrich, the director and co-writer of Toy Story 3 and co-director of Finding Nemo. The movie was announced back in April, but the first peek at the concept art just hit the Internet.
I'm a little curious about how Pixar will approach the project and the marketing. The holiday itself, which is most associated with Mexico, at least here in the U.S, is celebrated around the world and particularly throughout Latin America. It involves hanging out at the graves of relatives, giving them food and celebrating their memory, and lots of skulls, including very delicious candy ones. To an American audience, the idea of associating graveyards with celebrations is a bit odd. I think 95% of all graveyards in movies either involve people weeping next to a casket or tombstone, being chased by zombies, or having a séance. If this is a Hispanic-targeted movie, it may be a snap to target Mexican-Americans, but it may be a marketing challenge in another respect: the parents. Open-minded kids won't be a problem, but parents may need a refresher on the ins and outs of the holiday. Día de los Muertos is generally celebrated after Halloween, on November 2 (though sometimes the 1st), so the film is likely to release in October of 2015. That's proved to be a profitable spot for animated movies, like this year's comedy Hotel Transylvania. And it may make any spookiness an easy sell.