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Eugenio Derbez New Movie 2013: 'Instructions Not Included' Wins Big At U.S. Box Office

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First Posted: Sep 03, 2013 10:30 AM EDT
Eugenio Derbez
Eugenio Derbez (R) and Lucero at the Latin Grammys in 2010. (Photo : Reuters)

A little Spanish-language indie has taken Hollywood by surprise.

"Instructions Not Included," a film starring, directed and written by Eugenio Derbez, scored the biggest Spanish-language opening in the U.S. this past holiday weekend, ABC News reports. Derbez is a Mexican actor who is extremely popular in his home country but is mostly unknown in the U.S.

The film made $10 million in its first weekend and ranked fifth at the box office, alongside high-profile Hollywood blockbusters such as "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "One Direction: This Is Us," which were shown in 10 times as many theaters. According to Box Office Mojo, "Instructions" was shown in only 347 theaters.

"Latinos are becoming more and more the population," Charles Ramirez Berg, media studies professor at University of Texas told ABC News. "In a way, you can count on them to be an anchor audience." Berg is also the author of "Latino Images in Film."

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"Instructions Not Included" is a comedy about Valentín (Derbez), an Acapulco playboy who is visited by one of his former lovers and their daughter, whom he had no knowlege of. The mother runs away, and Valentín and his daughter move to Los Angeles to find her. The newly-introduced father and daughter Maggie end up staying in the U.S. where she grows up speaking perfect English and Spanish. Problems arise when the mother returns to get her daughter back.

"It's comedy, drama. It's about family. It's about parenting children. And you are going to get the audience to relate to that," Ramirez Berg told ABC News.

The film was released by Pantelion Films, which is part of Lions Gate and Televisa. While it received virtually no Hollywood promotion, Derbez used social media to promote his film, which garnered crowded theaters in Texas and California over the weekend. Although the film is mostly in Spanish with English subtitles, Derbez told the Associated Press that the movie is his crossover to "conquer the Anglo market."

The 52-year-old actor and comedian's U.S. filmography includes appearances in Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" and Rob Schneider's short-lived CBS sitcom "Rob." Derbez also appeared alongside Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo in the 2007 crossover hit "Under the Same Moon." ("La Misma Luna")

Derbez is also known in Mexico for his various comedic personas, which include a hairy-chested Snow White and less-than-flattering monk who picks his nose. He also co-hosted the Latin Grammys with Mexican singer-actress Lucero in 2010.

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