Will Disney’s “Coco” Be The Hit In The USA That It Is In Mexico?

Cocoproduced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, hit the theaters in the USA on November 22, the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s already getting great reviews. In Mexico, Coco made its official premiere on October 20, 2017 at the Morelia International Film Festival and was released in theaters on October 27, the weekend before  Día de Muertos It won’t be released in British theaters until January 19, 2018.

Pixar’s “Coco” is a hit in Mexico. Will it do as well in the USA? {image via Disney}

Coco is a major success in Mexico, popular with both movie critics and filmgoers, according to Bloomberg.  Although most blockbusters decline in sales from one week to the next, Coco‘s ticket sales “rose 12 percent in its second weekend in theaters” thanks to word-of-mouth advertising.  Coco is the highest-grossing animated release ever in Mexico, earning more than $41,000,000 (792,000,000 pesos) in its first three weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter praised Coco for finally getting non-white characters right.  “Coco feels less like a well-meaning attempt by white filmmakers to approximate a non-white culture than it does a respectful and exhilarating exploration of Mexican culture mixed with some of Pixar’s more familiar tropes. Considering how rarely the studio had indulged in creating non-white characters or worlds before now, it’s relieving to watch Coco, which feels as purely natural in its storytelling as Pixar’s more fantastical films.”  Hollywood has long had a problem with cultural diversity, but that problem doesn’t show up in Coco.

Coco is not Pixar’s best film — though it is its best since 2015’s Inside Out — but its depiction of Mexican culture is surprisingly naturalistic, respectful, and dynamic, coming from a studio that’s spent too many years avoiding cultural specificity in its many great films.

Anthony Gonzalez provides the voice of Miguel in Pixar’s “Coco.” {image via Disney}

Will Coco, with a story centered on the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, connect as well with U.S., Canadian, and European audiences as it did with Mexican audiences?  It’s too soon to tell, but early reviews are predicting success.

Coco stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Edward James Olmos, and Alanna Ubach.  All the voice actors except for John Ratzenberger (and it wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without John Ratzenberger) are either Mexican or Mexican-American.  Cheech Marin has a role, as does Luis Valdez, who is considered the father of Chicano theater in the United States.  Many of the actors are well known in Mexico, but unfamiliar to audiences in the USA.

Coco is currently playing in US and Mexican theaters.  The Disney short Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, a sequel to Frozen, is accompanying Coco.

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Will Disney's "Coco" Be The Hit In The USA That It Is In Mexico?
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Will Disney's "Coco" Be The Hit In The USA That It Is In Mexico?
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Cultural appropriation now seems less of an issue than making the film perform to expectations in the U.S.
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Krypton Radio
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About Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children's book R is for Renaissance Faire, as well as short stories in Alternative Truths,  Swords and Sorceress #30, Supernatural Colorado, Barbarian Crowns, and Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid. Her articles have appeared on Krypton Radio's website, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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