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The Mexican media and entertainment industry had its share of the strange, the scandalous and the triumphant in 2015.
The television industry saw a standoff between Hispanic media giant Televisa and Donald Trump over his anti-immigration rhetoric, and international networks descended on Mexico after the country’s most-feared narco escaped from jail.
Meanwhile, the country’s top filmmaking talent looks set to once again be on the hunt for Oscar glory, but Mexico’s own industry was hit by a scandal over the shooting of the latest James Bond film, Spectre, in Mexico City.
Here’s a closer look at the year that was in the Mexican media and entertainment industry.
Televisa Dumps Miss Universe, Calls Trump “Racist”
Mexico’s number one network, Televisa, cut all ties with Donald Trump after the U.S. presidential candidate referred to some Mexican immigrants as “rapists and criminals” in a speech announcing his candidacy.
Trump’s anti-immigrant remarks prompted Televisa and its U.S. partner Univision to not air Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, sparking a legal row with The Donald.
Mexicans in general have a highly unfavorable opinion of Trump, and they expressed that discontent this holiday season by beating on pinatas that bear Trump’s likeness.
Mr. Trump are not based on proven facts and statistics but [his] very personal and unfounded opinion.””]
Spectre Scandal Over Mexico Shoot
Revelations from the Sony hack included allegations that Sam Mendes’ Bond film Spectre received up to $20 million in incentives from the Mexican government in exchange for depicting the country in a positive light.
But Spectre producer Michael G. Wilson denied reports that Mexico demanded script changes.
The Mexico City shoot, set against the backdrop of a massive Day of the Dead celebration, involved some 2,500 extras, which proved very challenging for director Mendes.
“You have people who have been on crews for 40 years who have made 14 Bond films saying, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this, and that was really exhilarating for me,'” said Mendes in an interview with THR.
Mexican Talent Creating Oscar Buzz, Again
Less than a year after winning Academy Awards for best film and best cinematography for Birdman, Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu and DP Emmanuel Lubezki started generating awards season buzz for their new movie, the revenge saga The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, late in 2015.
If Lubezki were to get nominated and then win, it would mark his third straight Oscar win.
He also got the best cinematography trophy in 2013 for Gravity, directed by fellow Mexican Alfonso Cuaron.
Former ‘Survivor’ Producer Found Guilty of Wife’s Murder
After a drawn-out trial, former Survivor producer Bruce Beresford-Redman was found guilty in March 2015 of the 2010 murder of his wife Monica Burgos in Cancun.
He was sentenced to 12 years in a Mexican prison. Beresford-Redman’s family called the verdict a gross miscarriage of justice, and the defense has filed an appeal.
The family also has criticized two movies about Beresford-Redman that aired on Lifetime, one of which it called a “sick-making” dramatization. A website (www.FreeBruceRedman.com) was created dedicated to the producer’s release.
Notorious Drug Lord ‘s Prison Break Spurs Media Frenzy
If anything topped the media frenzy surrounding the Beresford-Redman trial, it was when TV news networks headed south following the dramatic prison break of infamous Mexican narco Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
In a scene ripped straight from a screenplay, El Chapo busted out of a maximum-security prison via an elaborate — and air conditioned — tunnel.
That caused a media circus as homegrown and international outlets covered the news. Ridley Scott has already announced plans for a movie version.
Universal Pictures Shatters Mexico’s Single-Year Box-Office Record
Universal couldn’t have asked for a better year in Mexico.
The NBCUniversal studio shattered records for international and global box-office performance for a single year, and Mexico fit right in with the record-breaking year.
Universal had three of the top five box-office earners of the year: Furious 7, Minions and Jurassic World. As of Nov. 30, Universal’s total revenue was north of 3 billion pesos ($176 million), easily surpassing Fox’s previous single-year record of 2.3 billion pesos ($135 million) for the territory.
Missing VFX Producer Found
Visual effects producer Eric Kohler (The Revenant, Grand Budapest Hotel) went missing on Nov. 24, when he was last seen at his Gardena, California office.
But he was found safe in Mexico nearly a week later when he turned up in La Paz, Mexico.
Kohler later posted a statement on Facebook saying the unannounced departure was due to a drug addiction problem. “This emotional and physical breakdown caused me to desert the people I care for and most importantly care for me,” he said.
Family Members of Mexican Director Alejandro Monteverde Killed
Tragedy struck Mexican producer/director Alejandro Monteverde (Little Boy) in 2015.
His father and brother were kidnapped for ransom in September, and they turned up dead several weeks later. Mexican authorities arrested six people allegedly involved.
Monteverde, who won the people’s choice honor in Toronto for his 2006 feature debut Bella, is married to actress and former Miss USA Ali Landry.
Televisa Cancels Mexico’s Longest-Running TV Show
After 47 years on the air, Mexican variety show En Familia has sung its swan song.
The Televisa children’s show was hosted by Javier Lopez, better known as Chabelo. And it was the country’s longest-running show. Even before its final outing on Dec. 20, Lopez said he might start another unspecified project.
Televisa also canceled Laura, a trash-talking, Jerry Springer-like program hosted by Peruvian Laura Bozzo.
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