Lin-Manuel Miranda is a playwright, actor, producer and now he can add global ambassador to the list as he promotes TheaterEars, a new app that lets people watch movies in the theater with Spanish audio.
“As a member of the Latinx diaspora, English is not the only language spoken at home and in my family. Being able to go to see a movie as a family, thanks to TheaterEars, has opened a whole new world of entertainment for us to enjoy and discuss together regardless of ability to understand English,” he said in a statement.
— Lee Scares-by (@Lin_Manuel) September 10, 2019
For the free app, all you need is a pair of headphones and you can select your movie, theater and showtime and the app will automatically play a Spanish audio track simultaneously with the film. The app is currently available at all theaters in the United States and Puerto Rico and has already released more than 70 major studio films, including Aladdin, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and most recently IT Chapter 2.
Miranda spoke with People Chica about why promoting the app is not just a professional endeavor but a personal gain for him that he wishes he’d had earlier in life.
“This is so that you and your abuela can go see the same movie. When I heard about the app and how it worked, I just thought, ‘I wish this was around when my abuela was around so that she could take me to the movies and have the same amount of fun watching as me,” he told the publication. “It allows families that speak different languages to all go see the same movie together, you pick your language and you go. If you look at the statistics of moviegoers, people who are going to movies, it’s Latinos. We are the ones who go out to the movies and we go as a family. The fact that you now have this app that allows you to enjoy the film in your language of choice is really exciting.”
According to a 2018 report released by the Motion Picture Association of America that found Latinx comprised 24 percent of “frequent” moviegoers — those who attend at least once a month — going to the movies an average of 4.5 times during 2017. Meanwhile, Asians attended an average of 4.3 times. African-Americans went an average of 3.4 times last year and Caucasians attended an average of 3.2 times so the buying power of Latinx is undeniable.
The app is available to download now and, according to their site, will always remain free.