Toy Story 3 crossed the $1 billion mark in August, a remarkable feat which only six other movies can boast. Much of the movie’s success comes from abroad, with more than 60% of the total consisting of box office business from foreign territories. Toy Story 3 enjoyed huge success from several Latin American countries, but none were more favorable than Mexico. Moviegoers in Mexico lined up for this animated movie event and helped Toy Story 3 rake in nearly $62 million, which is not only #1 at the box office this year but #1 all-time. It shattered the $44 million gained by James Cameron’s Avatar last year, which is now #2 all-time behind Toy Story 3. However, Toy Story 3‘s $1 billion pales in comparison to Avatar‘s titanic box office sum of $2.7 billion, which makes Toy Story 3‘s success in Mexico all the more astounding. So what made Toy Story 3 so hugely popular in Mexico? A look inside the movie may provide some clues.
In the very first theatrical trailer for Toy Story 3 shown here in the U.S., the latter portion of the trailer hints at Buzz Lightyear’s transformation into a Spanish-speaking toy as a result of an accident and the trailer ends with mariachi music. Disney’s marketing campaign for Toy Story 3 focused on the usual aspects of a typical Pixar film, but also smartly incorporated the “Spanish Buzz.” Infusing a particular language or culture into a movie can translate into the movie’s success in nations that understand the language and recognize the cultural aspects. The Spanish language and Latin culture mixed into Toy Story 3 may have translated over to its success in many Latin American territories, but it was most prominently evidenced in Mexico. Toy Story 3‘s box office this year in Mexico is a 335% improvement from last year’s Up. The infusion of language and culture may explain some of that improvement, in addition to familiarity and nostalgia for Woody and Buzz.