Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mo' Money Mo' Opportunities at the Box Office

I was both happy and relieved to see that Think Like A Man, the most hyped Black movie in recent memory made it to the top of the box office not only on it's opening weekend, but also on the equally important second weekend. I was relieved because had this movie flopped given the amount of marketing dollars spent on it, it would be easy for pundits and haters to say that there is no real market for films featuring an all majority Black cast or that stars like Oscar-nominated Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Hart cannot carry a movie. I was happy because Kevin Hart, a dude I've known since he was 10 (RIP Ms Nancy), got to show out in a way that made comedians like Chris Tucker and Martin Lawrence box office headliners. I was also happy that producer Will Packer of Rainforest Films can add another No. 1 hot to his production resume (Takers, Stomp The Yard) as can director Tim Story (Fantastic Four x2, Barbershop). With over 60 million in box office sales after two weekends, Rainforest is producing for distributor Screen Gems in a manner similar to how Tyler Perry films draw for Lions Gate, and this will hopefully lead to additional opportunities for minority producers moving forward.

It's a fairly recent phenomenon (as in the start of the Oughts) that movies featuring Black characters have also been produced by other Blacks. Box office draws like Ice Cube (Barbershop) , Eddie Murphy (Nutty Professor II),  Will Smith (Pursuit of Happyness), and Queen Latifah (Bringing Down the House) have parlayed on-screen success into production roles.  Smith, Cube, and Latifah run companies dedicated to producing films told from a minority perspective. The more people that there are who are able to bring projects together, the more likely it is that people will be able to find something on the big screen that they feel connected to. Think Like A Man has been critiqued for among other things it's nod to patriarchy, but the key is that it exists to be critiqued just like any Tyler Perry, Ice Cube, or Will Smith flick. The art can only get better the more that it gets made and supported. Hopefully this continued domestic success will not only lead to larger producing opportunities, but also support internationally.

Side Note: Jerry Ferrara aka "Turtle" from Entourage must take GREAT care of his agents because this dude gets prime ladies to hook up with no matter what he's in (look up Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Dania Ramirez, and Gabrielle Union)

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