It boasts no huge names. It lacks the cool-kid pedigree of Pixar. Hell, its lead isn’t even a purebred. But Beverly Hills Chihuahua is shaping up to be the surprise hit of the fall. Why?
No offense to costar Jamie Lee Curtis, but it’s the dogs. Disney’s new live-action film about a pampered 90210 pooch (voiced by Drew Barrymore) who gets lost in Mexico will likely be the latest in a long line of flicks routinely ignored by critics and media, but embraced by moviegoers — especially those with kids. Think Alvin and the Chipmunks. The Game Plan. Even Wild Hogs.
The Chihuahua obsession began back in May, when a teaser attached to The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian made kids squeal with glee. Shortly thereafter, awareness skyrocketed. Says a marketing executive from a rival studio: ”I’m jealous, and I wish we had it.”
Insiders are predicting a $25 million bow on Oct. 3, but others are thinking bigger. ”Shark Tale opened on this date back in 2004 to $47 million,” says the exec. ”Maybe this could get there.” That’s a tall order, but George Lopez, who voices the other main canine character, has a sizable Latino fan base that’s expected to come out strong. ”This could go well beyond a Disney audience,” says Chihuahua producer John Jacobs. The studio isn’t talking publicly about sequels, but it will likely do so if the public feels some puppy love.