Mexico could become the next biggest box office battleground

The movie Super Mario Bros. went on to break records and collect massive amounts of plays at the box office. Easily the most successful film of 2023 at the time of its release, the movie did more than even Nintendo fans expected. Oddly enough, a good percentage of that revenue comes from an unlikely source.

For years, China has been the main lifeblood of Hollywood films, with the country traveling in droves to see the latest Western blockbusters. That kind of financial hype has died down for good lately, but another country has picked up some of the slack. Here’s why Mexico of all places could end up becoming the “new China” when it comes to saving Hollywood bacon.


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China’s love affair with Hollywood is over

An Avatar character with the Chinese flag in the background

One of the biggest financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic for big business has been the effect on the film industry, and it’s been felt around the world. Many studios have turned to their respective streaming services to release movies, and so far, only the biggest movies are seeing particular success. The lack of new films coming out of the West seemed to break the record of Chinese moviegoers going to see Hollywood fare, especially since that country has been locked down longer than many others. All the while, the Chinese home theater industry was becoming more robust than ever, with these films becoming far more successful than the Western blockbusters released afterward.

It didn’t help that many seemingly unobtainable shoes were never brought to China, including entries in such venerable franchises as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When these movies finally arrived, they were comparative flops when compared to how blockbusters performed a few years before. For example, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was a huge disappointment, doing about as badly as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, although the latter film has been out for months. Even The movie Super Mario Bros. is not doing well in China, which shows that the country is simply no longer in love with Hollywood. Luckily, Mexico is perhaps a little friendlier, and it’s actually a lot closer to Hollywood.

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Mexico could be Hollywood’s next saving grace

Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) holding the Beetle in Blue Beetle (2023)

According Box office report, The movie Super Mario Bros. earned over $70 million in Mexico alone. That makes it one of the film’s biggest markets, and it far eclipses its current run in China. Mexico was also the third biggest market for the 2021 film. Spider-Man: No Coming Home, just behind the United States and the United Kingdom. Although it lags behind other countries in support Avatar: The Way of the Water, it still gave the movie a nice peso, showing just how dormant Mexico has been as a viable market. The irony is that it’s much closer to Hollywood in terms of location and culture, instantly eliminating many of the problems associated with releasing movies in China. China is notoriously against R-rated movies, and concepts that the Chinese Communist Party finds offensive or subversive will get even the most family-friendly movies banned.

It can be something as simple as time travel, as seen in the film’s ban Back to the future. Mexico isn’t known for that kind of stuff, and given its different proximities to the United States, making films that speak to a Mexican audience and would also be approved by the Mexican government is a lot easier. It could end up making dark horse movies such as the next blue beetle And Transformers: Rise of the Beasts in success given their Latin cast. There is also the strength of the peso supporting this, making the Mexican economy more robust and much healthier. Ultimately, while American movies might not get the same Hail Mary from the country they once did with China, Mexico can become a bastion of hope for expensive films to recoup their dollars from production.

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