1. For Guillermo del Toro, working on the Día de los Muertos–inspired animated feature The Book of Life was a chance to give a nod to the compelling imagery that surrounds the Mexican celebration, while also telling a story with mass appeal.
“You see these colors, this beauty, this magical power that Mexican art has, and the eclecticism of the culture is so strong,” the Mexican-born filmmaker told BuzzFeed at the ATX Television Festival about the stunning visuals in the upcoming 3D animated feature scheduled for release this Halloween.
8. “We called it The Book of Life because, for me, the movie is about life and joy and memory, and honoring memory, and knowing you can live forever when you have somebody that loves, and loved, you,” del Toro said.
“It’s a great, beautiful, powerful fairy tale,” he said.
12. The studios’ willingness to take on a feature with Día de los Muertos as a backdrop may also have something to do with the growing influence of Latinos in the American cultural landscape.
Hispanics are the fastest-growing demographic in the United States, and are projected to reach 56 million by 2030. They are also a key audience for Hollywood, since studies show they go to the movies more often and in larger groups than the general population.
13. At the very least, the movie is bound to appeal to generations of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
While they may or may not have a close connection to the Día de los Muertos, they nevertheless could see the movie as a significant and historically uncommon reference to their culture in mainstream film.
But the movie also employs some of the familiar devices, such as seemingly unlikely pop culture references (a trailer release last month includes a rendition Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”), that have characterized the most successful animated features of the past couple decades and are likely to attract a more general crowd.
Jarett Wieselman contributed reporting to this story.