Instructions Not Included(No Se Aceptan Devoluciones) is a Mexican film directed, acted, and written by Eugenio Derbez and it had a surprise showing at the box office in the US.
Opening on the same weekend as the British boy band One Direction’s documentary This Is Us, the Spanish language film made it to the fifth spot for the Labor Day weekend.
The film made a very respectable $10 million on its debut during the long holiday, which is the best showing ever for a foreign film.
This is no small feat considering one, the language barrier and two, the mostly unknown cast and director.
Big names in general can make or break a big movie at the box office, although that is not a sure thing as we saw this summer when Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer had a big flop with The Lone Ranger.
However, not having a recognizable name didn’t preclude Instructions Not Included from doing the unthinkable and breaking the record earning for a Spanish speaking movie in America.
The movie is a comedy, about a Don Juan-like character, Valentin, who is Acapulco’s playboy, until one day one of his conquests leaves a bundle of joy at his doorstep and takes off not to be found.
Chasing after the mother, Valentin and his daughter, Maggie move to Los Angeles believing the woman may be there. In an unlikely happening the new dad establishes himself as a stunt man to pay the bills while raising the child.
Six years later the mother comes back into the picture, threatening to disrupt the relationship Valentin and Maggie share.
Even more surprising than the impressive showing for the film is the fact that Derbez didn’t enjoy any of the PR usually associated with film releases. He did much of his own promotion on social media.
Derbez thought of the movie as his crossover to “conquer the Anglo market,” even though it’s mostly in Spanish, he told The Associated Press, according to Latino Fox News.
Instructions Not Included is distributed in the US by Pantelion Films.