From September 15 to October 15 each year, people across the United States celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the various contributions Latinx Americans have made to history, science, culture and entertainment. One way that AMC Theatres is celebrating the special month is by bringing back four movies from over the years that have featured Latinx casts or engaging stories that are close to home, so that moviegoers can revisit these classic tales or experience them for the first time entirely.
At AMC Theatres, we are proud to provide an opportunity to create a welcoming, diverse, and equitable environment. Our Council on the Latinx Experience is comprised of diverse leaders across different roles at our theatres and at the Theatre Support Center, providing leadership in raising awareness of a rich and diverse culture to create solutions and empower leaders seeking a career at AMC Theatres. As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, our Council on the Latinx Experience shared their perspective on the selected films and their influence within their culture.
Nuestras Historias on the Big Screen
Below is a breakdown of each of those four movies — SELENA, PAN’S LABYRINTH, IN THE HEIGHTS and THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA — including a brief description of each movie, a short rundown of each cast, and other information that you may want to know before you head to your local AMC Theatre to take in these special presentations. Here’s everything you need to know to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at AMC!
“SELENA was a staple in my house and we would watch it all the time. This was the first piece of media I ever watched where I felt truly seen and represented as a young Mexican-American girl. Seeing Selena’s success in both Mexico and the US and how many people loved her made me feel like I could do anything.” Diane P., Manager of Theatre Marketing
Throughout her life, and even after, Selena Quintanilla Pérez, who released music under the name Selena, made a name for herself as one of the most popular and successful pop singers of her time, going as far as earning her the moniker the “Queen of Tejano music.” Prior to her March 1995 murder by her friend and fan club president, Yolanda Saldívar, Selena became an international sensation and trailblazer, introducing non-Hispanic audiences to the Tejano music style and culture.
The story of Selena’s life, tragic death and legacy was given the big-screen treatment in SELENA, which featured an up-and-coming Jennifer Lopez in the lead role as the groundbreaking singer. Written and directed by Gregory Nava, the movie focused heavily not just on the success Selena found in the final years of her short life, but also her upbringing and the role her father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. (Edward James Olmos), and mother, Marcella Quintanilla (Constance Marie), had in turning their children into talented musicians.
From a stunning recreation of Selena’s famous, sold-out February 1995 concert at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, to the young singer falling in love with guitarist and future husband, Chris Pérez (Jon Seda), the movie does an incredible job of telling both sides of her story. With a focus on the personal and professional lives of the talented and successful star, it’s no surprise SELENA has remained so popular 25 years post-release.SELENA will be playing September 15th-October 16th
“I was pulled into the imaginative and fantastic world of PAN’S LABYRINTH, full of interesting creatures that the daughter created to escape the horrors of her situation. I just thought the movie was amazing.” Keith K., Director of AMC Dine-In Operations
Academy Award®-winning director Guillermo del Toro has long been considered one of the most visionary and thoughtful filmmakers of his time, thanks in part to his ability to pull beauty and heart from some of the most terrifying stories and visuals on the big screen. One of the best examples of this is del Toro’s 2006 dark fantasy, PAN’S LABYRINTH, and its story of a young girl who embarks on a journey to a magical world in order to escape the tragedy and horror of WWII-era Spain.
The film centers on the young yet incredibly wise Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a young Spanish girl whose mother (Ariadna Gil) has recently married the cruel and commanding Captain Vidal (Sergi López), who works for the fascist Spanish government. On one fateful night, Ofelia is drawn into a dark, dangerous, and fantastical world that defies logic, reason, and even reality, as she attempts to make sense of the labyrinth and her place within it. Mythical creatures of all shapes and sizes populate this magical world, with some offering Ofelia assistance, and others certain doom.
It should be noted that when PAN’S LABYRINTH returns to AMC Theatres nationwide as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the 2006 fantasy film will be presented in Spanish with English subtitles.PAN’S LABYRINTH will be playing September 15th-October 16th
In The Heights
“IN THE HEIGHTS can represent so many things for a lot of different people no matter your background. It's joyful, entertaining, and super energetic. It makes you want to grab a partner and start singing and dancing.” Frank C., General Manager of AMC Firewheel 18
In 2007, years before he became a household name with “Hamilton”, award-winning playwright, composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda found a great deal of success with the Tony Award®-winning musical “In The Heights.” Together with Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book of the same name, Miranda told a story set over the course of three days that focused on the predominantly Dominican area of the Washington Heights neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, shedding light on the area and introducing non-Hispanic audiences to the location’s history and culture.
Fast-forward a decade-and-a-half later, and CRAZY RICH ASIANS director Jon M. Chu helmed IN THE HEIGHTS, a theatrical adaptation of the beloved musical, with Hudes adapting the story she helped tell several years later. Much like the original musical, the 2021 movie features a large ensemble cast, though a focus is placed on Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos), a hopeful bodega owner who has aspirations of achieving more in life. Other members of the cast include Corey Hawkins as Usnavi’s best friend Benny, Melissa Barrera as the bodega owner’s crush, Vanessa, and others like Jimmy Smits, Marc Antony and Dascha Polanco, to name a few.
When IN THE HEIGHTS makes its return to the big screen in September, it should be noted that the movie will be in English with Spanish subtitles throughout.IN THE HEIGHTS will be playing September 15th-October 16th
The Curse of La Llorona
“For scary movie lovers, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is a must-see depiction of folklore and supernatural legend. You will be hearing the cries of La Llorona for days after watching!” - Miriam M., Director of Corporate Products
Over the years, movies based on folk tales have found a great deal of success at the box office, including the likes of THE VVITCH, MIDSOMMAR and CANDYMAN all carving out legacies for themselves. Another title on that list is Michael Chaves’ 2019 supernatural horror movie, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, which itself was based on Latin American folklore of the same name, that deals with evil spirits attempting to take kids away from their parents and the natural world.
The movie, which is part of the CONJURING universe, follows Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini), a Los Angeles-based caseworker who, upon checking into the welfare of two children, inadvertently releases an evil force on her own kids, who are now being followed and tortured by something known simply as La Llorona. Similar to other entries in the movie’s cinematic universe, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA is a thrilling and chilling ride as the characters attempt to come to terms with the evil that has entered their lives.
If you plan on watching THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA upon its return to AMC Theatres, be aware the movie is in English with Spanish subtitles.THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA will be playing September 15th-October 16th
Each of these movies will be shown in AMC Theatres nationwide as part of the company’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.