Year in Review: The Top Grossing Latin American Films of 2013

Cinema Tropical presents its annual review of the year in three parts, the first part being the list of top grossing Latin American films. 2013 was an impressive year for the Latin American box office, countries like Mexico and Peru, saw record-breaking numbers, while other countries such as Argentina and Brazil consolidated the market for its local productions, and countries such as Ecuador and Honduras saw the emergence of enthusiastic audiences for their national films.

2013 was the year of the comedians in Latin America, as many of the top grossing films starred (and in some cases were directed by) local comedians such as Eugenio Derbez from Mexico, Paulo Gustavo from Brazil, Stefan Kramer from Chile, and Carlos Alcántara from Peru. 

The big news of 2013 came from Mexico as not only one, but two films, broke the all-time local records in a memorable year for the Mexican box office. Gaz Alazraki's Nosotros los Nobles / We, the Nobles became a sleeper-hit after its local premiere last March. The comedy film inspired in Luis Buñuel's The Great Madcap (1949) and starring Luis Gerardo Méndez, Karla Souza and Juan Pablo Gil, grossed an impressive $26.6 million USD and was seen by over 6 million people.

Yet, Alazraki's debut feature film hold the record for only a few months as Eugenio Derbez's No se aceptan devoluciones / Instructions Not Included which premiered in September, quickly became an astounding phenomenon earning a total of $46.1 million USD and over 14 million spectators. Derbez's film also became the highest grossing Spanish-language in the United States and was the third grossing film in Mexico after Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me 3. 60 Mexican films were released in the commercial theatrical circuit generating $92.6 million USD at the box office confirming Mexico as one of the biggest box offices in the world. 

Peru also saw record-breaking numbers in 2013 with the popular comedy ¡Asu Mare! starring actor Carlos Alcántara and directed by Ricardo Maldonado which became the most successful Peruvian film of all times with a local viewership of more than 3 million people. The film is an adaptation of the stand-up comedy show by the same name by Alcántara and starred actors from the popular sitcom Pataclaun.

Brazil also saw impressive numbers in its local box office, as more than 25 million people went to see Brazilian films spending over $70 million USD at the box office. Two comedies were highly popular in the country: Minha Mãe É Uma Peça - O Filme by André Pellenz and Meu Passado Me Condena: O Filme by Julia Rezende.

Check out the list of top grossing Latin American films in 13 countries:


Metegol / Foosball, the 3D animated feature film by Academy Award-winner Juan José Campanella (El secreto de sus ojos / The Secret in Their Eyes) was the most popular film in Argentina earning $11.8 million USD with over 2 million spectators. The film, which became the most expensive Argentinean production to date, also had a good performance in its theatrical release in other Latin American countries such as Mexico and Colombia.


Las bellas durmientes / The Sleeping Beauties, the comedy film written and directed by Marcos Loayza that premiered on December 20, 2012 was the most popular local film in Bolivia. In a lawless country that no longer cares about the victims or perpetrators, the humble Officer Quispe, faces his superiors in order to find out the truth about the murders of beautiful models. The film stars Andrea Aliaga, Luigi Antezana and Marioli Arteaga. 


The screwball comedy Minha Mãe É Uma Peça - O Filme by André Pellenz and starring comedian Paulo Gustavo in drag as Dona Hermínia, ruled the Brazilian box office this past year. The film premiered on June 21 and became a local hit with over 4.6 million spectators and almost $19.3 million USD at the box office. Based on the success of the film, a sequel is already in the works for 2014. 


In Chile, the comedy El ciudadano Kramer / Citizen Kramer, a sort of sequel to the comedy hit Stefan v/s Kramer, became the most popular film of the year in the South American country. The film starring and directed by comedian/impersonator Stefan Kramer opened in Chilean theaters on December 5. El ciudadano Kramer, a comedy tied to the Chilean presidential elections, has been seen over 560,000 people so far. 


In Colombia, another sequel was the top grossing film of the year. Starring John Leguizamo, directed by Harold Trompetero and produced by Dago Producciones, El paseo 2 / The Trip 2 conquered the local box office with 1.4 million spectators. The slapstick comedy narrates the the adventures of family vacation at a seaside resort. El Paseo 3 -directed by Juan Camilo Pinzón, just opened in Colombian theaters on Christmas day and based on its numbers (94,000 spectators saw the film on its opening day), it seems it will be the highest grossing film of 2014. Trompetero has become the king of the Colombian box office as this is the third year in a row that a film of his is the most popular of the year: El paseo in 2011, Mi gente linda mi gente bella in 2012, and El paseo 2 in 2013.


Javier Andrade's directorial debut feature Mejor no hablar (de ciertas cosas) / Porcelain Horse was the most popular Ecuadorian film in the local box office. The film which was the country's candidate to the Academy Awards, was seen by about 55,000 spectators. The film tells the story of Paco Chávez, who leads a careless and charming life in the coast of Ecuador. One night, he and his younger brother Luis a punk musician with an even bigger addiction problem, enter their parent’s home to steal a porcelain horse to pawn in order to score more drugs. Their father catches them and a fight ensues. The consequences of that fight will haunt both brothers forever and will change the lives of everyone around them.  


The Honduran comedy ¿Quién paga la cuenta? / Who Pays the Bill? by Puerto Rican director Benji López became a hit in Central America having been watched by over 107,000 spectators. In the film, Dora (Sandra Ochoa), Saúl (Jorge Flores), and Salvador (Oscar Izacas) all with different dreams of a future realize that one way or another someone has to pay the bills.


In Mexico, Eugenio Derbez made headlines with his debut feature film No se aceptan devoluciones / Instructions Not Included. The film starring and directed by the Mexican popular comedian became the highest grossing Mexican film of all time with an impressive $46.1 million USD and over 15 million spectators. Derbez beat the previous box office record that had been set just few months earlier by Nosotros los Nobles by Gaz Alazraki. Between both films, they made a memorable year for the Mexican box office.    


Arnaldo André's Lectura según Justino was the favorite amongst Paraguayan audiences. Set in 1955 at the beginning of the Stroessner dictatorship, the film tells the story of Justino, a ten-year-old boy who, after the sudden death of his father, has to start working delivering the mail in his hometown. This job gives him the opportunity to meet people he hadn’t met before, as well as discover the secrets some of them are trying to keep buried.


The comedy ¡Asu Mare! by Ricardo Maldonado broke all-time records in Peru becoming the most successful film in the history of the South American country. The film which opened on April 11 was seen by over 3 million people and earned about $10.7 million USD. Written and starring comedian Carlos Alcántara aka "Cachín", ¡Asu Mare! is the film adaptation of Alcántara's stand-up comedy show by the same name. The semi-biographical film tells the the story of Alcántara's from his modest upbringing living with his mother to his rise to fame.


The animated feature film Anina by Alfredo Soderguit was the most popular movie in Uruguay. The Uruguayan-Colombian co-production tells the story of Anina Yatay Salas, a ten-year-old girl who does not like her name. Each part is a palindrome — it reads the same forwards and backwards. One day, Anina and her arch-enemy Yisel get into a schoolyard skirmish, so the principal disciplines them with a weird punishment: they are both given a sealed black envelope which they are not allowed to open for a week. Anina’s efforts to understand the contents of the envelope turn into a journey to understand the world and her place in it.


In contrast to the rest of the Latin American countries, a thriller was the king of the Venezuelan box office. La casa del fin de los tiempos / The House of the End Times by Alejandro Hidalgo was the most popular Venezuelan film locally. Starring Ruddy Rodriguez, Rosmel Bustamante, Adriana Calzadilla and Gonzalo Cubero, the film tells the story of Dulce, a mother who has encounters with ghosts inside her old house, where she must decipher a mystery that could trigger a prophecy: the death of her family. The film was seen by over 500,000 people.