Black Box Office Breakers: 5 Times Black Films Exceeded Expectations

(from l to r) Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B.Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright: the cast of Black Panther (Photo: Marvel Studios)

In June of 2017, the teaser trailer for Marvel’s new highly anticipated film, “Black Panther,” was released and the world began to make noise.

Four months later, the official trailer dropped, showcasing some of the most visually stunning aspects of the make-belief African country Wakanda, accompanied by a killer cast of black talent, and bought to life from notable director and screenwriter, Ryan Coogler.

Here we are in the month of February, and it hasn’t even been a week since “Black Panther” premiered in theaters, and has already grossed over $235 million, in the U.S. alone.

All over the country, people of color have made it a duty to show up and show out, dressing to impress in their African threads, all social media platforms being taken over by this franchise, and inclusion and representation of our people, our young children, is at its high, as they can look at this cast or Coogler and say, “That can be me.”

The records this film have broken, have become moments in history. Not only did it set the record for the biggest debut by an African-American director, but it’s also the fifth highest grossing film for an opening weekend, biggest solo superhero launch of ALL TIME and sixteen other ground breakers according to Forbes.

But this isn’t the first time black films have shined in the box office. Kontrol is recognizing five films that also dd numbers and broke a few records as well.

Dreamgirls (2006)

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Anika Noni Rose and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls

Directed by: Bill Condon

Screenplay by: Bill Condon

Starring: Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Anika Noni Rose, Sharon Leal, Keith Robinson, Danny Glover

Deena, Effie and Lorell are three Detroit girls in the 60s, on the journey to catch their big break. Once they do, and begin skyrocketing to the top of the pop chats, due to new manager Curtis’ hustle and mischievous ways, they start to see the true meaning of fame and what having a dream, can sometimes do to the people you love.

Budget: $80 million

U.S. Gross: $103 million

Worldwide: $154 million

Accolades:

  • Dreamgirls was the most expensive film to feature an all African-American starring cast in American cinema history.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

The Princess and the Frog

Directed by: Ron Clements and John Musker

Screenplay by: Ron Clements, John Musker & Rob Edwards

Starring: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Oprah Winfrey, John Musker, Keith David, Terrence Howard, Jim Cummings

Ambitious master chef, Tiana, is a small New Orleans girl with a big dream. She plans on opening her own southern restaurant one day, from how hard she works and how passionate she is for cooking. Until one day, she kisses a snarky frog, who turns her into the same thing, and she must figure out how to escape this unfortunate form, before it’s too late.

Budget: $105 million

U.S. Gross: $104.4 million

Worldwide: $267 million

Accolades:

  • Became the fifth highest grossing animated film of 2009.
  • Received three Academy Award nomination: Best Animated Feature & 2 Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song nominations

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave (Photo: Associated Press)

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Screenplay by: John Ridley

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Michael K.Williams

Solomon Northrup is an extraordinary violinist and a free man, until abducted and sold back into slavery, where he must fight for reclaiming his family and righteous freedom.

Budget: 17.1 million

U.S. Gross: $56 million

Worldwide: $187.7 million

Accolades:

  • Won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Nyong’o) & Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Picture win made director Steve McQueen, the first African British producer to receive the award, and the first African British director to win Best Picture.
  • Won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Drama
  • Named the 44th Greatest film since 2000 by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

(from l to r) Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and
O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Photo: Universal Studios)

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Screenplay by: Jonathan Herman & Andrea Berloff

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., Paul Giamatti, R. Marcus Taylor

The film tells the story of the most notorious Hip-Hop group of the late 80s to 90s, N.W.A. From the group coming straight outta Compton, to becoming mega stars and topping charts, while delivering a message on the social inequality of police actions and racism toward African-Americans in America, as they used their music to tell stories that impacted the culture.

Budget: $50 million

U.S. Gross: $161.2 million

Worldwide: $201.6 million

Accolades:

  • Nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2016 Academy Awards
  • On August 27, 2015, Straight Outta Compton became the highest grossing music biopic of all-time in the United States.
  • On September 18, 2015, the film’s domestic gross crossed $157.5 million and became the all-time highest domestic grossing film from a black director in the United States.

Girls Trip (2017)

(from l to r) Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah in Girls Trip (Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

Screenplay by: Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver

Starring: Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh, Mike Colter, Kofi Siriboe

College besties Ryan, Dina, Lisa and Sasha a.k.a the “Flossy Posse,” reunite for a weekend of wild fun and mishaps, as they take a trip to New Orleans’ annual Essence Festival. From Dina’s bold, comedic and adventurous personality, to Lisa’s motherly tendencies and breaking out of her shell, Ryan’s marriage facade and Sasha’s secrets, it’s a versatility of expectations of what could happen during this trip. The girls rekindle their bond, some find love and others do and try everything under the sun, but soon true friendship becomes a test, in the urge to protect the ones you’ve always been loyal to.

Budget: $19 million

U.S. Gross: $115.2 million

Worldwide: $140 million 

Accolades:

  • Chosen by Time magazine as one the top ten films of 2017
  • Grossed over $140 million worldwide, including over $100 million domestically, making it the first comedy of 2017 to do so.
  • 35 award nominations, 17 for actress Tiffany Haddish performance in the film

Our black films are indeed universal, and we will keep showing the capability of strength in numbers and telling our stories in the best way possible The revolution will continue to be televised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond Jones

Jr. Editor Lifestlye/Entertainment Department

Diamond Jones, 21, is a St.Louis native, born on the west side of Detroit. She is currently a junior, studying Journalism, with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her writing reaches to audiences everywhere, directing it toward the empowerement and excellence of black people and their accomplishments. She has written for The Daily Egyptian, LoveThisTrackTV, Georgia State’s The Signal and the National Association of Black Journalists, which she is a dedicated member of. She hopes to continue to inspire those through her words and make those who feel underrepresented, see their light.