It's about time! Cinema Latino, the first company in Colorado to open a theater complex that caters almost exclusively to Spanish-speaking clientele, has just opened a new eight-screen theater right here in Colorado Springs in the old Supersaver Cinema space at Citadel Crossing.
To add to the excitement, there will be a gala Grand Opening that includes Mexican food, a Tejano band, and the premier of the summer's most anticipated blockbuster, Spider-Man, dubbed into Spanish. (Hey, parents: Spiderman will be there in person for photo opportunities with your kids.)
"We opened our first theater in November in Aurora to cater to Spanish-speaking people because it's an underserved community," says Ryan Nolan, the bilingual 22-year-old general manager who helped owner/Denver businessman and Colorado Board of Education member-at-large Jared Polis start the operation. "We're doing really well up there [in Aurora]. There are eight screens there, and eight screens down here."
What sets Cinema Latino apart as a business is its intent to support itself from within the Latino community without trying to cater at all to non-Spanish speaking audiences. For example, Y Tu Mama Tambien (see last week's film review), which is showing at Kimball's with subtitles, is also showing at Cinema Latino without subtitles. Though an outsider might wonder why the theater wouldn't just show the version with subtitles to attract an even wider audience, Nolan says he's more interested in creating "a very inclusive environment for people who speak little or no English. If I lose sight of that, then I can hurt my core audience. ... I want my patrons to be treated like they're going to a Cinemark."
Other elements that make the theater extremely friendly to the Latino community are: a staff that is required to speak Spanish, but not English; concession items like Bimbo brand snack, dulces and horchata along with the standard popcorn, sodas and traditional American candy; and popular Latin music playing in the lobby.
Also exciting are Nolan's plans to show not only Spanish-language and Hollywood films dubbed into Spanish, but films from around the world with Spanish subtitles as well. Nolan also wants to work with local Spanish teachers to set up special screenings for their classes.
See our Movie Times on page 28 for this week's shows, and make sure to call ahead to find out if a particular film is in Spanish only, dubbed or subtitled.
-- Noel Black