Cinelatino has acquired exclusive rights to more than 50 new Spanish-language movies, including films starring Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and John Leguizamo, the network will announce later this week.
The films will premiere for American audiences between June and September, most of them airing again a few weeks after they debut.
The collection of acquisitions includes some of the most successful Spanish-language films of the past decade, such as "Colosio," the highest grossing film in Mexico in 2012; "El Paseo 2," a sequel to the Colombian hit, and "El Infierno," which swept Mexico's equivalent of the Academy Awards in 2011.
"This is the hit parade," Jim McNamara, chairman of Cinelatino and the former CEO of Telemundo," told TheWrap. "This is what makes the cable operators drool and audiences come."
Cinelatino is the second largest Spanish-language cable channel in the United States and the largest one dedicated to movies. Though the majority of its audience is in Latin America, it boasts 4.3 million subscribers in the U.S., reaching everyone who subscribes to a Hispanic program package.
This is the first time audiences will be able to see the vast majority of those titles, as just a handful of Spanish-language films earn theatrical distribution in the United States.
"It's amazing to think these movies didn't get a theatrical release," McNamara said.
McNamara is particularly attuned to Spanish-language films because he also serves as the chairman of Pantileon Films, which produces and distributes films for the U.S. Hispanic market.
"It a tough business to compete again Iron Man and Superman," McNamara said."But there is a healthy appetite out there underserved by broadcasters. There isn't a Colombian out there that hasn't heard of 'El Paseo Dos.'
McNamara said comedies are often the most popular becuase telenovelas, which dominate Spanish-language primetime programming, are rarely comedic. However, because Cinelatino has much of the American market to itself (unlike in Latin America), it can select almost all of its top choices -- for a price.
Here are some of the titles that will air on the network:
"Colosio" – Carlos Bolado's film about the assassination of president-elect Luis Donaldo Colosio was the highest grossing film of 2012 in Mexico
"Deficit" – the directorial debut of Gael Garcia Bernal
"El Infierno" – a black comedy about organized crime in Mexico that won several of Mexico's top film awards in 2011
"El Sueno de Ivan" – Demian Bichir stars in a film about a team of kids from across the world who compete against a team of international stars to raise money for victims of an Earthquake
"No Eres Tu, Soy Yo" – a romantic comedy that is the ninth highest-grossing film in the history of Mexico, besting "Amores Perros"
- Arts & Entertainment
- Gael Garcia Bernal
- Diego Luna