‘The Butler’ Director Lee Daniels’ Breaks $100 Million Ticket Sales Mark
Since last weekend, it has been noted, The Butler became the first “black film” of 2013 to surpass the $100 million mark at the box office. A “black film,”meaning tell stories centered primarily around the lives of black characters.
It’s a fact and very rare that a “black film” crosses the coveted $100 million mark (movies starring Will Smith aside).
And it’s even more rare when it’s a “black film” directed by a black filmmaker – so rare that, it hasn’t happened in the last 23 years – not adjusted for inflation, which is key here. A film like Waiting To Exhale, for example, which was released in 1995, directed by a black filmmaker in Forest Whitaker, grossed over $67 million that year. Adjusted for inflation, that figure would be just about $100 million.
Other black films like Django Unchained, Dreamgirls, The Pursuit Of Happyness, and even Big Mommas House, all grossed over $100 million and were not directed by black directors
Last year, Think Like A Man (directed by a black filmmaker in Tim Story) almost got there, grossing over $91 million. Before that film, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail almost did it in 2009 grossing just over $90 million.
But this year just might be a year in which we see two “black films” by black directors cross the $100 million mark – the other one being The Best Man Holiday.