December 6, 2002
Empire premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was also selected as the opening night attraction of the New York Latino Film Festival. It is the first production for Arenas Entertainment, which is the first major Latino film distribution company in Hollywood and a subsidiary of Universal Pictures. They expect to roll the film out for a moderate release, focusing primarily on target cities with large Latino populations.
John Leguizamo stars as Victor Rosa, who tries to capture the American Dream even as he attempts to evade his criminal background and become free of the violent streets of the South Bronx. He is determined to leave the easy but tainted money of drug dealing behind so that he can make a better life for his family, and partners with a powerful investment banker (Peter Sarsgaard) to achieve his goals. He quickly learns that he’s in way over his head as the price he must pay for his new lifestyle is heftier than he ever imagined.
Musician/choreographer Franc Reyes turned writer/director for this movie, saying that he wanted to tell this kind of story in a unique way without Latino sterotypes that are so often perpetuated in current film. Adding to Empire’s credentials is an original score from Grammy Award winner and Latin music legend Ruben Blades, who also has a supporting role in the film.
The target audience for Empire provides a unique and under-served market. It probably won’t come anywhere near the radar of most box office analysts, but it’s one to watch as it has enormous break out potential. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Comparison films for Empire
|New Jack City