Hollywood partners to produce films for Hispanic moviegoers

Televisa, the Mexico-based media conglomerate, will partner with Lionsgate Studios to create Pantelion Films, which will release eight to 10 films in the US annually, geared for the Latino moviegoer.

The official announcement coming September 14, will state that the arrangement aims for the next five years, according to the New York Times.

The first film to be released in 2011 is From Prada to Nada. The story is a spin on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, about two spoiled sisters who are left penniless when their father dies and forced to live with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles. It is scheduled for release in January.

Hispanic-centric films have been tried by major studios unsuccessfully before, since 1999, by Universal and Samuel Goldwyn but Lionsgate believes the timing is right. The partnership with Televisa will tap its strength in production.

With 37 million Hispanic moviegoers purchasing 300 million tickets in 2009, it is the highest figure of any ethnic group in the US.

Pantelion Films will produce a mix of genres, from romantic comedies to action thrillers. It will also create some films in English and some in Spanish.

James M. McNamara, the former chief executive of US Spanish-language TV channel Telemundo, will be Pantelion's chairman and told the Times he expects Pantelion to be welcomed by moviegoers as well as by screenwriters and actors.

There is a recent rise of Latino and Latina actors playing prominent roles in films such as Eva Mendes ( The Other Guys) and Michelle Rodriquez ( Avatar), joining the strong numbers of Hispanic actors.

RC

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