To help launch its upcoming Thanksgiving release, “Black Nativity,” a family musical starring Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson, Fox Searchlight screened clips of the film at MegaFest, a faith-based revival event at which the more than 75,000 attendees are primarily African Americans.
In doing so, the specialty film distributor was seizing a marketing opportunity that it hopes can generate early positive word of mouth for writer-director Kasi Lemmons’ screen adaptation of the Langston Hughes musical, which opens Nov. 27.
Fox Searchlight, which in the past has played in the urban film arena, is making a fresh push to cash in on a potentially lucrative sector that rivals like Lionsgate and Screen Gems have tapped so effectively in recent years.
“I think (those companies) have started to target that market more effectively,” says Bishop T.D. Jakes, a producer on “Black Nativity” and organizer of Dallas-based MegaFest. “It’s a smart business move to recognize an audience group that supports films in general, but also films that represent truisms in our community.”
African Americans, he says, continue to be underserved by Hollywood. That’s supported by the fact that, per capita, blacks go to the movies slightly more often each year than whites, even though there are far fewer films made with them in mind. (Latinos represent the largest per-capita moviegoing demo in the U.S.)
After a three-year absence from releasing urban pictures, Fox Searchlight has re-entered the arena with a trio of o erings that includes this past weekend’s opener, “12 Years a Slave,” directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, from producer New Regency; and “Baggage Claim,” a romantic comedy written, directed and produced by David Talbert, which has grossed more than $20 million since its Sept. 27 bow — a respectable performance given its modest $8.5 million production budget.
For more of the article : http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/searchlight-puts-the-spotlight-on-black-cinema-1200756495/
This makes me wonder if people are jumping on the “Black Is Hot” bandwagon for a buck (I mean this is a business) or do these people want to help tell “our stories” and employ black actors? My personal viewpoint from this article is that it looks like a bandwagon jump for business, which I can’t knock. At the same time the production companies are getting their money, It’s still terrific to see more black films and actors on the screen….right? Thoughts?