Arenas Entertainment Celebrates Silver Anniversary

Innovative Hispanic Entertainment Agency Hits Quarter Century Milestone

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 In the past 25 years, Arenas has grown from a single employee in Pozo’s living room to a full service marketing and distribution agency with offices in Los Angeles and Madrid.

Los Angeles,  CA – Hollywood’s first Hispanic marketing agency celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Established in 1988 by founder and CEO Santiago Pozo, Arenas Entertainment has been the leading agency for marketing Hollywood entertainment to U.S. Latinos for 25 years.

“I started Arenas in my home with just a phone, a fax machine, and faith in a vision,” said Pozo. “Nobody saw the potential for marketing to Latinos back then — but they do now!”

Arenas has been at the forefront of that sea of change. Today, Hollywood, corporate America, and politicians recognize the immense strength of the Latino market.  An election can’t be won without Latino voters; every product or service has a Latino campaign; and a movie will not open without Hispanic movie-goers. Hollywood, in particular, has embraced the Latino market, which makes up 17% of the U.S. population but accounts for a staggering 25% of all movie tickets sold.  Moreover, Arenas Entertainment has been able to increase this average exponentially on film releases such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua (51% Latino), Apocalypto (52% Latino), and Empire (51% Latino).

Santiago Pozo
Santiago Pozo

The same couldn’t be said back in the mid-80s when studios did not see the potential in marketing films to Hispanics. However, as an intern for Universal Pictures in 1985, Pozo did see the potential. He convinced his bosses to allow him to target the market for the re-release of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. The results were impressive, proving what Pozo knew: Hispanic audiences love movies and they are willing to come in droves if marketed to properly.  In 1986, for a second time, Pozo convinced Universal executives and, more importantly, director Steven Spielberg to take another leap – releasing Spielberg’s film An American Tail with a marketing campaign focused on the U.S. Latino audience (the first time an animated film was released with a dedicated Latino push).  It became the most successful animated film at that time.  Today, no studio will release an animated film without creating a dedicated Latino marketing push.

Convinced of the viability of marketing Hollywood product to U.S. Latinos, Santiago Pozo took the leap to form Arenas Entertainment in 1988.  “Absolutely I was scared,” remembers Pozo, “but I also knew in my heart and my head that this was the future. It was time for Latinos to be appreciated by the marketplace.”

Arenas’s debut project and Hollywood’s first film with a full Hispanic targeted campaign was director Robert Redford’s Milagro Beanfield War.

This ahead-of-the-pack innovation became a trademark for Arenas through the years, with a number of major “firsts” for the Hispanic audience:

  • Like Water for Chocolate (1992) – First Hispanic campaign for an “art house” film.
  • My Family (Mi Familia) (1995) – First fully-developed media and grassroots campaign for an Hispanic film.
  • Selena (1997) – First multi-million dollar, multi-media Spanish language media campaign.
  • End of Days (1999) – Arnold Schwarzenegger became the first major movie star booked on a Spanish network show as a guest on “Cristina.”
  • The Mummy Returns (2001) – First summer film released with an Hispanic campaign of more than $1 million in Spanish language media.
  • The Fast and the Furious (2001) – Arenas helps to launch the popular film franchise.

In 2002, Arenas broke new ground by becoming a distributor for films catering to the Latino market.  Arenas Entertainment released the hit Empire starring John Leguizamo and Peter Sarsgaard. Produced for a small budget of just $4 million, the film grossed $17 million with an overwhelming 51% of the audience being Latino.  Imagining Argentina, starring Golden Globe winner Antonio Banderas and Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, and Nicotina, starring Diego Luna, were released in 2003. Other films distributed by Arenas include Culture Clash in AmeriCCa Live!, directed by Emilio Estevez, 3 Wise Men, and this year’s critically acclaimed Bless Me, Ultima, based on Rudolfo Anaya’s award winning novel.

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In the past 25 years, Arenas has grown from a single employee in Pozo’s living room to a full service marketing and distribution agency with offices in Los Angeles and Madrid. Delivering all facets of marketing including publicity & promotions, digital, media, booking, creative, distribution, and production, the company has worked on over 500 feature film campaigns for every major studio, including recent hits The Avengers, Magic Mike, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, and The Hangover: Part III, as well as TV shows such as ABC’s hit Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Disney’s Handy Manny and Cheetah Girls. Outside the entertainment category, Arenas has also had a strong showing, including branding campaigns for the Knights of Columbus in the faith-based market and sporting franchises like the L.A.-based soccer club, Chivas U.S.A.

Already at work on taking Arenas to the next level, Pozo announced that the company is in pre-production on The Run, an inspiring drama with strong Latino appeal.  The feature film will be in theaters in 2014.

“Celebrating Arenas’ 25 years in the business is like watching a child grow up,” said Pozo, “Latinos have shown Hollywood, and everyone else, that we are a power in the marketplace that will not be ignored.  I am hugely excited about the future and eager to see what our fully-grown adult Arenas will do — the best is yet to come!”

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Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).

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