How Pixar critics helped him beat paydirt with & # 39; Coco & # 39;


During the holiday weekend, audiences in the rest of America attended what Mexican moviegoers said more than a month ago: Disney / Pixar & # 39; s "Coco" is a truly attractive winner.

The animated hit soared to $ 71.2 Million national debut to win the five-day holiday frame, beating superhero giants such as "Justice League" and "Thor: Ragnarok," according to studio estimates. Sunday. "Coco" raised $ 49 million for the three-day national weekend, according to Box Office Mojo, and now earned a total of $ 153.4 million worldwide.

All commercial reception and positive criticism – "Coco" has a "fresh" 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes: it reflects how wise Pixar was to start listening to its critics four years ago.

It took the company almost two years to make "Coco" when it made a major public relations blunder. For its commercialization, Disney in 2013 applied to the trademark "Dia de los Muertos" – the Mexican fiesta on which the film is centered – provoking a reaction of prominent Latin voices.

The Mexican-American cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz ("La Cucaracha") helped to give an image to the protest. Alcaraz, who had tweeted that trying to mark the holiday was "frightful and rude", created the cartoon of Mickey Mouse "Muerto Mouse", with the caption: "It's about marking your culture."

According to Jason Katz, story supervisor at "Coco," the violent reaction to the trademark intent of Southern California's parent company was difficult to bring in the Bay Area, where Pixar's Emeryville studio is located. .

"Working on Pixar, you're in a bit of a bubble: in a way, we're far from the machine," Katz explains to the Washington Post. "(We were) trying to be as genuine and authentic as possible, it was not something we expected, we were all disappointed and sad"

However, the incident led to a realization. "We needed to make sure that, even though we approached people, we needed to make this film differently than any other movie we would have done," says Katz, who has been in the studio since his first feature film, 1995. " of the toy. " "We needed maybe not to keep our cards so close to our chest."

To correct the course of these blind spots, Pixar hired three key consultants: Marcela Davison Avilés, president for a long time of Mexican Heritage Corp. in the vicinity of San José; the playwright Octavio Solís; and Alcaraz himself.

"The good thing about working with Lalo is that he is authentic, he has no hairs on his tongue," says Katz. "We launched the film and (what) we were trying to do … It was just a great ally"

Alcaraz gives credit to the studio with respect to "Coco", which he says is co-directed by young people on the rise talent Adrián Molina, who is of Mexican descent. "Pixar was already on the way to making this a culturally authentic film and we are somewhere in the middle," says Alcaraz. "And although I'm not very corporate, they heard what I had to say."

Katz says that "Coco", a six-year project, was anchored in a central mission: the filmmakers "were just trying to find a story that seems worthy of being in the world."

And so, finding the story of "Coco", which revolves around the musical journey of a 12-year-old boy, began in 2011 with a cultural trip. Katz, director Lee Unkrich, producer Darla K. Anderson and production designer Harley Jessup made the first of several research trips to Mexico. "There are things you learn while there," says Matz, "and asking questions (like)," If we did this, would you be upset? ""

The "Coco" team embedded families during all day, witnessing rituals and meeting neighbors. They were invited to the cemetery to help clean up the family graves, and were invited to the funeral.

The filmmakers, including writer Matthew Aldrich, also visited sites with many terraces such as Guanajuato that were literally covered by history. That helped inspire the vertical aspect of "life after death" of "Coco."

These trips inspired the filmmakers to base their fictional city of Santa Cecilia on real sites in Oaxaca. "That helped us decide the lighting," says Katz, as well as "the size of the cemetery and (regional) music that would be present."

The first great affirmation of his dedication came last month, when "Coco" debuted in Mexico shortly before the Day of the Dead festivities.

"See this reaction from Mexico, weeks before anyone in the United States saw it, (was) beyond what we could expect," says Katz. "That for me is so moving."

"I could see him at the Mexican premiere in Spanish," he says, and "listen to them laugh and cry in the right places, and gasp when we want them to be speechless." – It was amazing. "

The movie that once raised warning flags is now rising in the nation it seeks to honor and respect.

" Coco, "with more than $ 48 million in ticket sales, is now the greatest movie in the history of Mexico.

Michael Cavna wrote this story, (c) 2017 The Washington Post.

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