According to the recently released study by Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency, a film with a cast that is at least 30% non-white outperforms a release which is not truly diverse in an opening weekend at the box office. If that is the case, then Miguel Arteta's Beatriz at Dinner is a prime example of the study's conclusion. While not quite reaching the 30% marker (on screen) for the study's diversity, Beatriz at Dinner nevertheless is benefited by the presence of Mexican born, and now international star, Salma Hayek.
Under the accolade laden direction of Arteta and Mike White's writing, Beatriz at Dinner originally released on June 9th in five theaters, clocking the most successful opening of any indie film to date. It made an impressive $30,000 per screen average, for a total of $150,160 on opening weekend. At the Landmark theater in Los Angeles Beatriz at Dinner even sold more tickets than Wonder Woman on opening night.
Vanity Fair called Hayek's acting "remarkable" and overall, critics have written about this performance being the finest in her career. In addition to Hayek in the lead role, the superb performances of John Lithgow and Connie Britton and other cast members make the film a must see. At least that is what Roadside and Live Nation, the films distributors are counting on.
Based on the positive reaction for the film, the distributors have decided to widen their distribution to the tune of 486 more screens, for a grand total of 491. So if you have been thinking about going to see Beatriz at Dinner, this is the weekend when you should do it. Hayek's U.S. Latino fans alone, could easily keep the film in theaters for many more weekends to come, and her performance could be the Latino breakthrough cure for the #OscarSoWhite Brown Barrier at the 2018 Academy Awards.
Summarizing the CAA study, Christy Haubegger, the leader of CAA's multicultural development group said, "People want to see a world that looks like theirs". Unfortunately, in the case of Beatriz at Dinner's, it's a look at a world that looks frighteningly like the world we are currently living in.