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The Most Important Filmgoers Ever (And What This Means For Black Cinema)

The Most Important Filmgoers Ever (And What This Means For Black Cinema)

No, it’s not White filmgoers. Or Black, or Asian, or Bi-racial, or those nerdy comic book fanboys or whatever else. Hispanics are the most important filmgoers today, and that importance is only going to increase as the Hispanic population
reaches an estimated 56 million by
the year 2030.

According to an article in The Wrap (HERE), this past
weekend at a panel at the Produced By
Conference in Los Angeles,
film exhibition experts, execs from Univision, and film studios stated
that the Latino audience was without question the most important group of filmgoers, for various reasons: “They
go to the movies more often and in larger groups, they spend more at concession
stands and they talk about movies more on social media.”

John
Fithian, CEO of the National
Association of Theatre Owners said during the panel that, “Hispanics
are far and away the most important consumers at our cinemas.”

In addition, Nielsen
Company executive Ray Ydoyaga, who
has spent the last few years researching the Hispanic market for Hollywood
studios and the media,  said that they
are the “most valuable” and “most avid” moviegoers.

“They
go to the movies six times a year on average, as compared to four for everyone
else, and they show up on opening weekend more than anyone else (47 percent to
37 percent).”

Other statistics that came out during the panel were that
Hispanics represented 17% of all
filmgoers and 19% of all box office
revenue, that Hispanic children go to the movies 2.5 times more than any other group, and that Hispanic filmgoers on
the whole like all types of film genres compared other ethnic groups, who tend
to be more rigid in their tastes.

Also important, Hispanic filmgoers have been responsible
for the success of many major films such as this past winter’s unlikely huge smash
b.o. hit “The Lego Movie” (which
grossed $462 million worldwide). Or
as Fithian said, “Who would have thought a family title could do $250M (domestically) in
the dead of winter? It did, and Hispanics had a lot to do with that.”

And not mentioned in the article but just as important, is the huge overseas market in places where Spanish is spoken, such as Central and South America and within Europe.

(Not to say that black films don’t do well overseas also – something that Tambay, Andre Seewood and I have written about in the past despite insistent comments from mainly black readers who still like to
claim that “No one cares about us po’
black folk” nonsense, which I intensely despise).

However, this being S&A, I have to ask, what does all this talk about Hispanic filmgoers mean for black cinema? (I have to, because who else will?)

Does this mean that, as the number of Hispanic filmgoers increases, it will mean an increasing irreverence for black cinema?

Which also leads me to ask, did black filmgoers at one
time have an opportunity to really change the film business but let it slip
through our fingers only to let the Hispanic market overtake us? (Hey, it wouldn’t
be the first time we let the power to change something slip through our hands.)

Will producers, filmmakers and financiers (including black
ones) shift their focus on film projects that will appeal more to Hispanic audiences
and increasingly ignore black filmgoers? How will this affect casting? Will black actors and
actresses see opportunities bypass them in favor of Latino actors? Or will we
see even more movies with multi-ethnic casts (such as The Fast and Furious
series) and fewer black films targeted specifically towards the black audience?

If you think I have the answers, you’re wrong. But just a
few things to ponder, and I’m sure you also have some things to say as well.

What do you say about all this?

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