Apr 4, 2024 - World

"The Casagrandes Movie" hits Netflix with adventure in Mexico

After a surprise family trip to Mexico derails Ronnie Anne’s birthday plans, she is determined to prove that she’s old enough to do her own thing – even if it means confronting an ancient preteen demigod whose angst has apocalyptic potential.

After a surprise family trip to Mexico derails Ronnie Anne's birthday plans, she befriends 12,000-year-old demigod, Punguari, not knowing her apocalyptic potential. Photo: Netflix/Nickelodeon Animation Studios

A Nickelodeon cartoon about the dynamics of a multi-generational Latino family that lives together is now a feature film on Netflix.

The big picture: "The Casagrandes Movie" debuted on the streaming service last month, two years after the network canceled the show after three seasons.

Zoom in: Directed by Miguel Puga, the movie follows the Casagrandes, who take a family road trip to Mexico only to encounter a battle between Indigenous demigods.

  • The mischievous Ronnie Anne is celebrating her 12th birthday and would rather be at a skatepark back home. However, she soon finds herself in the fictional Great Lakes City in Michoacan, Mexico, in a divine fight that can only be subdued by an ancient flying chancla.
 Twelve-year-old Ronnie Anne confronts the 12,000-year-old demigod, Punguari, in "The Casagrandes Movie."
The 12,000-year-old demigod, Punguari, in "The Casagrandes Movie." Photo: Netflix/Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Zoom out: Co-writer Rosemary Contreras tells Axios Latino the creators wanted to make a movie about a regular Mexican American family returning to Mexico and how basic misunderstandings can lead to comical episodes.

  • "This is huge. When I was growing up, there was not a single Latino movie with like a single Latino family that I could watch."
  • Contreras says she wanted to help create a movie for her own 12-year-old daughter, like Ronnie Anne, that shows a Latino family learning about their Indigenous past in Mexico.
  • Both hers and Puga's families hail from Michoacan, "so we definitely wanted an authentic piece. They're not just going to random Mexico," Contreras adds.

Lalo Alcaraz, another writer on the show, says keeping the movie funny like the series was also important.

  • That's why writers felt strongly about using the chancla, a hilarious and feared item in many Mexican American families, as a needed tool to save the world.
  • "We have to be playful, too," says Alcaraz, adding that while it's important to be respectful, "we can take a little liberty because it's still a show, we still want people to be entertained."
Ronnie Anne Santiago, a 12-year-old, is confronted by her mom, Maria Santiago, with a full schedule during their trip in Mexico.
Ronnie Anne Santiago, a 12-year-old, is confronted by her mom, Maria Santiago, who has a full schedule during their trip to Mexico. Photo: Netflix/Nickelodeon Animation Studios

"The Casagrandes Movie" has been among the 10 top-streamed movies on Netflix in several countries since its release on March 22, according to Flix Patrol, a site that monitors streaming traffic.

  • The movie reached No.2 in Croatia and South Africa.
  • Contreras says this shows that films about Latinos have broad appeal.

What's next: As of now, there are no plans to bring back the series to Nickelodeon or create another movie, but Alcaraz says there is potential for more stories.

  • "After all, the family is still in Mexico. How do they get back to the U.S.?"

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