The biggest surprise of this past week is an unexpected new wonderful small film: HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER. Over the past week, this film pulled in an estimated $12 million in the U.S. and Canada. According to the Los Angeles Times, “such a performance is history-making for the Latino-focused film market”. The film stars Eugenio Derbez as a man who falls on hard times after a career based on seducing older women. Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell are also in the film. Derbez is one of Mexico’s biggest stars. The opening box office is even more impressive because the film opened in only 1,118 targeted locations. The Los Angeles Times also noted that “Critics didn’t flock to the picture, giving it a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But it received an A CinemaScore. In comparison THE CIRCLE had an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned a D-plus on CinemaScore.
Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST now has company. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS has achieved $1.1 billion worldwide. That is no surprise.
I discovered something quite remarkable about my favorite movie of 2017 so far. THE PROMISE, starring Oscar Isaac as an Armenian medical student and Christian Bale as an American journalist — was financed by Kirk Kerkorian. Kerkorian is the son of a poor Armenian immigrant. Today, this son is a Hollywood mogul and casino magnate who pledged $100 million toward the film. THE PROMISE is now the biggest budget picture ever about the Armenian genocide. As of today, Turkey still has never acknowledged the massacre.
ROBIN WILLIAMS’ FINAL PERFORMANCE: It is hard to believe that Robin Williams has been gone for three years. We have so many lovely memories of this wild and crazy man. Each of us certainly have our own favorite films that he starred in. Who can ever forget the words — “Oh Captain, My Captain” from DEAD POETS SOCIETY. We were never sure what (or if) ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING would be released in the United States. The film was released in the United Kingdom in 2015. Hopefully, Las Vegas will be one of the included cities when it opens this spring. It is important to point out that Williams voices the part of a talkative dog. Yes, that’s right — a dog! The film also is a reunion of the original Monty Python stars — John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin. Williams died in August, 2014, just three weeks after wrapping his scenes.
The Smith Center is coming off of a spectacular weekend. Erich Bergen brought the house down with his two performances in the Myron Martin Cabaret Jazz. One of the stars of the film JERSEY BOYS as well as his performance in the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys, Bergen begins his fourth season this fall in the hit television drama MADAM SECRETARY. Living legend and Tony winner Chita Rivera was treated like a rock star in her Reynolds Hall debut. Rivera was joined by the voice of Broadway –Seth Rudetsky. In the ninety minute performance, Chita sang her classic Broadway songs and answered questions from Seth. From West Side Story to Chicago and Bye Bye Birdie to Kiss of the Spiderwoman — Chita never missed a beat and was rewarded with one of the longest standing ovations in the history of The Smith Center.