Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Televisa formally unveiled Pantelion Films here Tuesday, a venture that will release eight to 10 movies annually targeting U.S. Hispanic moviegoers.

Under a five-year deal, the two companies plan to succeed in an area where several previous ventures failed in the past.

Former Telemundo boss Jim McNamara, who serves as chairman of Pantelion, told THR that the venture has only about eight permanent employees, but can draw on the staffs and resources of Televisa and Lionsgate, which will make a difference.

"Other companies that have tried to do this either did not have enough staff, because they couldn't afford it, or the business was such that it never allowed money to come in fast enough" to keep it going, he told THR. "This is a low overhead development and distribution company."

The company has also worked to get support from exhibitors, including AMC Theaters, Cinemark and Regal.

AMC CEO Gerry Lopez on Tuesday said his chain will dedicate one to three screens at theaters in markets with strong Latino audiences.

Paul Presburger serves as CEO of Pantelion. One of the themes that his team heard in their research was that U.S. Hispanics "want to see themselves on the screen the way they see themselves," McNamara told THR. "They want to see (their own) as an ad exec or government employee, not just as drug dealer or maid."

At the same time, Pantelion wants to avoid giving off an "I feel your pain" vibe or pander to Hispanic audiences. During a morning press conference here, Jon Feltheimer, co-chairman and CEO of Lionsgate, referenced the studio's focus on African-American and other audiences. "One of Lionsgate's core values is directing content to underserved audiences," he said. "The Hispanic audience is the most under-served."

Emilio Azcarraga, chairman and CEO of Grupo Televisa, who flew into New York for the day, referenced the 50 million-strong U.S. Hispanic population and its buying power, predicting that this year's census will show further growth.

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