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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Instructions Not Included trailer: why you’ve probably never heard of this hit movie

I have a vague impression of having caught a whisper of this movie somewhere, but I never received a press release about it, nor a screening invitation. (I’m still on U.S. press lists, so I should have heard something.) It has only five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests it has simply been almost entirely off the radar of film critics.

And yet, though it was playing in only 348 theaters in North America over its Labor Day weekend debut, it earned more than $10 million over those four days, making it the second highest-earning new release of the weekend, and No. 5 overall.

Friends in New York reported huge lines for this (almost) unknown film over the weekend, and Reuters says (via The New York Times) that this is “ a record for a Spanish film in the United States.”

Hollywood regularly ignores entire sectors of the audience that aren’t young and male, so this is hardly surprising. Maybe this will change? From Reuters:

Pantelion, whose formation was announced in announced 2010 by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and Grupo Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga, intends to produce eight to 10 films a year aimed at the Hispanic market in the United States and Mexico, in an effort to duplicate the success Lionsgate has with the African American market through films it distributes for Tyler Perry.

But really, all the studios should be doing the same. Perry’s films and this one cost next to nothing to make — Instructions has a reported budget of only $5 million, which it has already earned back twice. It doesn’t even matter if the films are crap (Instructions does not look particularly good), because when an audience is so under-served that it is starving for entertainment, it will turn out in droves.

Not that I want Hollywood to make more crappy movies, of course. I just wish it were more ecumenical in its distribution of crap.

US/Canada release date: Aug 30 2013
official site | IMDb
posted in:
movie buzz | trailers
  • ehzimmerman

    I loved this film — it’s funny, moving, emotionally rich and full of suprises. Don’t miss it!

  • singlestick

    Box Office Mojo noted in their Labor Day weekend analysis that “Hispanics made up 17 percent of the population, but 26 percent of
    frequent moviegoers. In spite of this, there are very few movies made
    each year that are specifically targeted towards Hispanics.”


    Additionally, “Instructions Not Included” apparently has some wider cross-over appeal. There are a number of warm comments about the film among the user reviews on IMDB (hopefully all legitimate reviews).

    The distribution pattern for this film in the Los Angeles area is interesting, including not only Latino neighborhoods, but some multi-ethnic suburban neighborhoods, Hollywood, Universal Studios and the movie complex at downtown’s Staples Center.

  • I’m pretty sure I can guess what the big surprise is.

  • Mike D

    Maybe it helps that Eugenio Derbez is probably the biggest star in Mexican comedy right now. I bet a lot of people lining up to see the film know that.

  • ehzimmerman

    Well, you won’t know if you guessed right if you don’t see the film (or have someone tell you what happens). I didn’t see most of the surprises coming, but of course you might be a lot smarter than I am.

  • I am unlikely to have access to the film in London until it it released on DVD and/or VOD.

  • althea

    It looks wonderful. I checked, and it is playing in Dallas, not everywhere but lots of screens. Quite the jarring choice of pictures though. Breezy dad and daughter on the first page, and then you come here and get sexy clinch on the beach! Talk about surprises.

  • LaSargenta

    Hmmm…the name of the movie in spanish is No Returns Accepted. English title is more optimistic.

  • lucho pachuco

    this movie has too many ingredients and so far is for me the best movie of the year, the movie is good by itself doesn’t matter if is for Mexicans or any other ethnicity………just watch it and you”ll see.
    lucho Pachuco

  • I watched the trailer. Somehow the plot is clear yet I am excited to watch it since it looks fun and I am share it is a very touching movie.

  • RogerBW

    Young, male and white; the Tyler Perry point just shows up that films are made either for “normal people” or for a specialist audience (those strange obscure people who are not young, not male, or not white).

    I actually get a positive feeling from this trailer: it’s clearly doing its best to make the film look like a generic “guy doesn’t know what to do with a baby” flick, but I think this one has potential beyond that.

  • Tonio Kruger

    It says something about how much appeal the posters for this flick have had for me that the last time I saw a poster for this flick, it seemed like just another Anglo-American comedy aimed at a family audience.

    But it is obviously appealing to someone. And when you’re old enough to remember French and American audiences going crazy over their respective versions of Three Men and a Cradle, it’s hard not to find something ironic about some of the ways this film is being characterized on this site. Though I suppose that beats reading yet another online essay citing films like this as proof that we’re taking over. ..

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