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Pantelion to Make Its Widest Release Ever with ‘How to Be a Latin Lover’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 3/9/2017 Anna Marie de la Fuente
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Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez’s latest romp, “How to Be a Latin Lover” is set to become Pantelion Film’s widest release ever in the U.S., likely to more than double the Televisa-Lionsgate joint venture’s release standard of 350 to 400 screens when it opens on April 28.

Videocine, the film distribution arm of Televisa, will be rolling the comedy out to some 2,500 screens in Mexico on May 5.

“We are expecting this film to deliver, it’s got heart and a highly promotable cast,” said Pantelion COO Edward Allen.

Comedy centers on an ageing Latin Lothario, played by Derbez, who’s made a living out of seducing rich, older women. When he’s dumped by his wealthy 80-year old wife for a younger stud, he’s forced to move in with his estranged sister, played by Salma Hayek, and her son with whom he bonds. Other cast members include Raquel Welch, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell and Rob Riggle. Derbez and Hayek dubbed the mostly English-language pic into Spanish. Chris Spain and Jon Zack penned the comedy which is directed by Ken Marino.

“We are very proud of this movie. It has a very mainstream sensibility but still speaks to Eugenio’s core audience through specificity and nuance,” said Ben Odell, Derbez’s producing partner at 3Pas Studios, which inked a first-look deal with Pantelion in August 2014.

“This is what we aspire to with 3Pas – to make big commercial films geared towards a market that lauds and embraces diversity,” he said, adding: “This isn’t a Latino movie, it’s a big funny comedy with Latino leads.”

Pantelion is banking on repeating its 2013 success with Derbez’s breakout hit, “Instructions not Included,” which grossed $44.5 million, making it the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. Pic grossed another $55 million overseas.

Earlier Pantelion releases this year have fared only modestly: comedy “Un padre no tan padre” and family dramedy “Everybody Loves Somebody” grossed around $2 million apiece.

Last year, Pantelion hit box office pay-dirt with the Martha Higareda-Omar Chaparro high-school comedy “No Manches Frida” which grossed $11 million Stateside to become the 20th highest grossing foreign-language release of all time in the U.S. and Pantelion’s second-biggest hit after “Instructions not Included.”

Pantelion has slated another Higareda comedy “3 Idiotas,” for a June 2 debut in the U.S.  “3 Idiotas” is a Mexican remake of Indian box office juggernaut “3 Idiots” by Rajkumar Hirani. Higareda stars and co-produces the comedy through her NeverEnding Media shingle with Carlos Bolado at the helm.

Meanwhile, 3Pas Studios is set to go into production by late May with “Overboard,” a remake of Garry Marshall’s ‘80s comedy with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.

MGM has partnered with Pantelion to co-produce, co-finance, and co-distribute the remake, with Lionsgate handling U.S. theatrical distribution.

In a reversal of the original premise where Hawn played a spoiled heiress who gets amnesia when she falls off her yacht and falls in love with the carpenter she scorned pre-accident, Derbez plays a wealthy playboy who falls for a single working mom, played by Anna Faris, after he falls off his yacht.

The remake will be co-helmed and penned by Rob Greenberg (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Bob Fisher (“We’re the Millers”).

Next on the 3Pas slate is “Ms. Granny,” the remake of a Korean comedy, which is scheduled to shoot in the Fall. Derbez will play a supporting role while his daughter, Aislinn Derbez, is to topline and executive produce the family comedy.

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