Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Black Box Office: Mid-Year Review

As we begin the second half of the year, I thought I'd take a quick look at how we've done at the box office so far. When I say "how we've done," of course I'm referring to how black films (those that enjoyed theatrical releases anyway) have performed from January to June of this year. How am I defining "black film?" For this purpose, I'm including only those films that primarily tell the stories of people of the African Diaspora.

Looking down the list of films that have enjoyed theatrical releases this year, with Box Office Mojo as my source, there have been just 6 films that fit my above criteria - 6 out of roughly 300, or about 2% of all films that were released theatrically in America for the first 6 months of 2008.

And those lucky films are: First Sunday, College Road Trip, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Meet The Browns, Redbelt, and How She Move.

College Road Trip (Martin Lawrence) scored the highest in ticket sales, pulling in $45,218,566, followed closely by another Martin Lawrence starrer in Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, which made $42,193,500 during its entire run.

And right behind Roscoe is Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns, with $41,975,388 in ticket sales.

Rounding out the list are the remaining 3: First Sunday (Ice Cube) banked $37,931,869; How She Move managed $7,070,641, which isn't bad considering that it was a small-time affair, starring a group of unknowns. And finally Redbelt (Chiwetel Ejiofor) raked in $2,342,445 (I actually reviewed the film on this blog: REDBELT REVIEW).

So, there you have it! A ridiculous 6 films out of 300 (2%), released during the first 6 months of 2008, and every single one of them exists somewhere between "garbage" and "average," although I'd say most fall closer towards the former.

The marginalization continues, although we are certainly not helping ourselves either. And so I'm not surprised by the results. For the remaining 6 months of the year, the forecast doesn't change very much, which means be prepared for more harsh times ahead!

Should you care? I certainly hope you do. When you're invisible, you don't matter, and when you don't matter, your life has little to no value - a statement with widespread significance.

I suppose the expected segue here would be for me to rant about "what's wrong with black cinema," who's doing or not doing what and why, etc... But I won't, because it's all rather pointless and useless now, in my humble opinion. I've already done all of that, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's time to stop bitching and start acting! I think we can all agree that more will be accomplished by doing the latter.

So, what can you do, you ask? Well, go see some independent black cinema this summer, instead of filling your head up entirely with the usual Hollywood spectacle. I've been slacking on updating my Screening Sightings blog because I spend so much time on this one! Throw in the time I allocate to other writing projects on my agenda, and I'm left without even seconds to devote to I will get to it shortly however, so hang in there. But that's no excuse. There are likely a few microcinema screenings happening in your city; you may just have to do a little research to find out where they are, especially since most are without hefty marketing budgets. And as always, do notify me of any screenings in your town so that I can add them to the site's listings.

Happy weekend to all!


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