Cinema Tropical presents its popular annual review of the year in three parts, the first part being the list of top grossing Latin American films. For the large part, 2014 continued with the recent growth of the Latin American box office. Costa Rica broke all-time records with a the comedy Maikol Yordan de viaje perdido directed by Miguel Gómez and Wild Tales became a big phenomenon at the Argentinean box office.
Comedies remained the most popular genre in Latin America, and many of the top grossing films of the region were comedic such as in Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Peru. In Brazil and Mexico, political satires were the most popular with the O candidato honesto and La dictadura perfecta. In three countries the top grossing films were documentaries: El canto de Bosawas in Nicaragua, Invasión in Panama, and Maracaná in Uruguay.
Check out the list of top grossing Latin American films in 17 countries:
Damian Szifron’s Relatos salvajes / Wild Tales was the biggest story of the year as it became one of the top grossing films of all time in the South American country. The film, which had its world premiere as the only Latin American film at Cannes’ main competition and it has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards, was seen over 3.4 million people in Argentina. It will open in U.S. theaters in February by the hand of Sony Pictures Classics.
The political thriller Olvidados / Forgotten directed by Mexican filmmaker Carlos Bolado was the favorite of Bolivian people as it was seen by 19,500 people in its local theatrical release. Set in the repressive military dictatorship in the 70’s, the film tells the story of José, a general who has a heart attack and looks for redemption by telling the dark secrets of his past to his only son.
O Candidato Honesto / The Honest Candidate by Roberto Santucci was the most popular Brazilian film of 2014, earning around $2 million USD at the box office and an audience of 2.1 million people. The comedy film, which follows the campaign corrupt politician John Ernesto Praxedes running for president, was released in the same year of the presidential elections in Brazil.
The comedy Fuerzas especiales by José Miguel Zúñiga was the top grossing Chilean film of the year with an estimated audience of 314,500 people. The film narrates the adventures and misadventures of privates Salinas and Freire, who will have to settle for their lives to be respected by their superiors. Based on the success of the film, a sequel has been announced.
Uno al año no hace daño by Dago García arrived late in the year to exorcise an otherwise slow year for Colombian films at the local box office. The comedy has earned an impressive 4,000 million pesos and has been seen by over half a million people just in its first week of release, easily surpassing the 299,500 spectators of Ciudad Delirio, the second Colombian film most popular of the year.
2014 was the year of Miguel Gómez. He released two films the same years breaking box office records for the Central American country. His documentary film Italia 90 about the Costa Rican soccer team in the 1990 World Cup was hugely successful. Yet no one imagined that his following Maikol Yordan de viaje perfecto would become the highest grossing Costa Rican ever. The film has been seen by over 170,000 people since it opened on December 18.
The screwball comedy film Vamos de robo by Roberto Angel Salcedo was the favorite among Dominicans in 2014. Michael, Pedro, Mateo, and Antonio work at a bank that has been robbed. Being the main suspects, they have to find out who the actual robbers were.
Ochentaysiete by Daniel Andrade and Anahí Hoeneisen was the top grossing film in Ecuador, with 13,500 spectators. Set in 1987, the film is a drama about friendship and forgiveness. Pablo, Andres and Juan, get into their biggest teenager adventure, when Juan decides to run away from home. He is not willing to go back because his father, an old fashioned policeman, wants to change him to a military school. After a car accident, Pablo flees, never to return. 15 years later, he comes back to Ecuador to face what he left in the past.
Billed as the ‘first romantic comedy of Central America’ La rebúsqueda by Álvaro Martínez had an audience of 21,600 people in its local theatrical release.
Directed by Rony Alvarenga and Javier Mejia Suazo, Cuentos y leyendas de Honduras / Tales and Legends of Honduras was the favorite film in Honduras in 2014. Narrated in four episodes, the film illustrates some of the country’s most frightening legends and stories written by Jorge Montenegro.
The political satire La dictadura perfecta / The Perfect Dictatorship by Luis Estrada was the top grossing Mexican film of the year earning an estimated $12.6 million USD and was seen by over 4 million people. In the film, Governor Carmelo Vargas tries to clean his public image after the country’s main television network discloses a scandalous story which involves him in serious crimes and illicit business. In a turbulent year for the Mexican government, local audiences cherished the poignant political satire.
The documentary film El canto de Bosawas / Song of Bosawas by Brad Allgood and Camilo de Castro follows the adventure of Matute, member of the popular Nicaraguan band "La Cuneta Son Machin" traveling with two musicians from San Francisco to deep Bosawas, with the firm intention of recording for the first time the music of the indigenous Mayangnas. The film was seen by 10,300 people in Nicaragua.
The documentary Invasión / Invasion written and directed by Abner Benaim was the most popular film in the Central American country in 2014 with an audience of 47,000 people. The film about the 1989 US invasion, was selected as the country’s entry for Academy Awards, marking the first time that Panama submitted a film for consideration.
The action thriller Luna de cigarras / Cicadas Moon by Jorge Bedoya reign at the Paraguayan box office with an audience of 26,000 people. The thriller follows a young American man comes to Paraguay to seal a deal and start a new business venture. The opportunity he represents creates a competition within a group that unexpectedly takes him on a journey into the bowels of the underworld.
Comedian Carlos Alcántara repeated its reign at the Peruvian box office with the film A los 40 / At 40 directed by Bruno Ascenzo. Seen by 1.1 million people, the film became the second grossing Peruvian film ever -after last year’s Asu Mare, which also starred Alcántara.
The documentary film Maracaná by Sebastián Bednarik y Andrés Varela was seen by 22,500 people, making it the most popular Uruguayan film of the year. Maracaná chronicles the epic win of the Uruguayan soccer team at the 1950 World Cup, against the Brazilian team playing as host in the Maracaná stadium.
Albero Arvelo’s epic biopic Libertador / The Liberator about about 19th century Latin American freedom fighter Simon Bolivar was the favorite Venezuelan film at the local box office. The film was seen by 697,000 spectators, and it has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category.