International Hits “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Straight Outta Compton” Disprove Hollywood Myth That “Black Films Don’t Travel”

(image via latimes.com)

article by Tre’vell Anderson via latimes.com

On his way to winning a best picture Oscar for “Moonlight,” a film made for a minuscule $1.5 million, writer-director Barry Jenkins took time between awards-season red carpet appearances for a six-city European promotion tour. It was time well spent.

“Moonlight,” about a poor black boy living in the projects of Miami and struggling with his sexuality, wasn’t supposed to be the kind of movie that wins the best picture Oscar. Its modest coming-of-age narrative, unconventional story structure and outsider characters with no mega stars made it, as filmmaker Mark Duplass said recently with admiration, “a bit of a miracle” that it even reached U.S. theaters. Certainly, it’s not the kind of movie that was expected to make money overseas. After all, says a longstanding Hollywood myth, black films don’t travel.

Yet as of Tuesday, “Moonlight” has made $28.6 million at the international box office — more than its $27.5 million domestic take — for a worldwide total of $56.1 million. With the film still in theaters, even more is expected.“This black film is definitely selling overseas,” Jenkins said to The Times on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, just after he’d returned from Europe.

“Every time there’s a success, it gets swept under the rug,” says Jeff Clanagan, president of Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films, which primarily produces films with African American casts. “It’s almost like there’s an asterisk on it. They chalk it off as an anomaly.”

For 1988’s “Coming to America,” the anomaly was the comedic genius of Eddie Murphy, who “transcended race” when the film grossed $160.6 million internationally for a $288.8 million worldwide take. (Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle are other box office champs for whom the “transcended race” label has been applied.)

For 1995’s “Bad Boys” and its 2003 sequel — which together pulled in a combined $210.3 million internationally and $414.7 million worldwide — it was the fact that the film was an action flick, never mind leads Smith, Martin Lawrence and Gabrielle Union. For 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a $40.4 million payoff internationally (and $201.6 million worldwide), it was the popular music of rap group N.W.A.

Even as three-time Oscar nominee “Hidden Figures,” with its predominantly black cast, has so far made $48.8 million internationally — helping to push its $166 million domestic sales to nearly $215 million worldwide and counting — the myth persists.

When asked about the myth, Octavia Spencer, Oscar-nominated for her “Hidden Figures” role, responded simply: “I have two words for you: Will Smith.”

“He was told the same thing [at the beginning of his career] — that he wasn’t going to be taken to promote his film,” she said at the annual pre-Oscars Sistahs Soiree honoring women of color in the industry. “Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you don’t know ’em, why would you go support the film?”

To read full article, go to: Disproving the ‘black films don’t travel’ Hollywood myth – LA Times

“Moonlight” Triumphs at Oscars, Wins Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor

Barry Jenkins accepts Best Picture Oscar for "Moonlight" (Patrick T. Fallon via nytimes.com)

Barry Jenkins accepts Best Picture Oscar for “Moonlight” (Patrick T. Fallon via nytimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Moonlight topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards. Moonlight director/writer/producer Barry Jenkins accepted the award at the end of the night after a shocking turn of events where La La Land was mistakenly called to stage to receive the Academy’s highest honor. Jenkins also won with co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor in Oscar history to win the Best Supporting Actor Award.

The star-studded evening also saw an energizing opening performance of “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Original Song nominee Justin Timberlake, a medley of two songs from “La La Land” by its co-star John Legend (“City of Stars” went on to win the Original Song award) and a standing ovation for Best Feature Documentary presenter, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who was introduced by “Hidden Figures” stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae (and wheeled out on stage by current NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle).

There were also Oscar presentations from Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, but one of the biggest highlights of the evening was the speech delivered by three-time nominee and Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis:

Viola Davis (photo via Parade.com)

Viola Davis (photo via Parade.com)

People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed.  I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.

Davis went on to thank her co-stars and Best Director/Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington, her family and her parents.

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Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Jackson Developing Unscripted Celebrity Series With FremantleMedia

Samuel L Jackson Creating Celebrity Show

LaTanya Jackson and Samuel L Jackson (MATT BARON/BEI/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

Samuel L. Jackson, his wife LaTanya Jackson, and Rushion McDonald are teaming with FremantleMedia North America to develop a new celebrity series, Variety has learned exclusively. The project will be the “Legend of Tarzan” star’s first in the unscripted space.

The currently untitled series will take A-list celebrities back to the house they grew up in, visiting old haunts and meeting familiar faces, to explore how their childhood shaped who they are now.

Samuel L. Jackson said of the series, “LaTanya and I often talk about the nostalgia we have for the community in which we were raised, and the opportunity we have to pay it forward. Together with Rushion, we decided to empower some of our nearest and dearest celebrity friends to share this journey in their own voice, in their own hometown and to provide children and families with resources and facilities to further build their foundation. This is about connecting with the community where we became the people we are today and sharing that journey with audiences across America.”

“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Jackson and Rushion McDonald,” added Toby Gorman, FremantleMedia North America’s Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming. “The world of celebrity is intriguing and fascinating, and in this series we get to pull back the curtain on who these people really are and the challenges they faced along the way. It’s authentic storytelling at its best and we can’t wait to get started.”

The series was created by Samuel L. & LaTanya Jackson, and McDonald. FremantleMedia North America will produce. Executive producers include Samuel L. & LaTanya Jackson, Zoe Jackson, McDonald, and FMNA’s Gorman and Jennifer Mullin.

Samuel L. Jackson to Receive Britannia Awards Honor this Fall

'The Legend of Tarzan' film premiere, Los Angeles, USA - 27 Jun 2016

Samuel L. Jackson (Rex/Shutterstock)

article by Erik Pedersen via deadline.com

BAFTA Los Angeles said today that Samuel L. Jackson will receive its Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment at the British Academy Britannia Awards in the fall.

Jackson has appeared in more than 100 films, scoring a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for 1994’s Pulp Fiction. He has been a regular in Quentin Tarantino films, including Jackie Brown,  Kill Bill Vol. 2 and more recently The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained.

Jackson’s credits also range from Spike Lee’s School Daze and Do the Right Thing to such blockbusters as Jurassic Park, the second Star Wars trilogy and the Avengers franchise. He next appears in The Legend of Tarzan and has roles in several upcoming pics including The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and Kong: Skull Island.

Amazon Studios Acquiring Spike Lee Film “Chi-Raq” as Its 1st Release

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon Studios says it has acquired Spike Lee‘s new film as its first Amazon Original Movie.

The film, with the working title “Chi-Raq,” features a cast including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and Teyonah Parris, as well as D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris and Angela Bassett, plus John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.

“Chi-Raq” was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week. Directed by Lee, it was co-written by Lee and Kevin Willmott. It focuses on violence in inner-city Chicago.

Amazon Studios’ Ted Hope said, “It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker” than Lee to launch the studio with.

Amazon Original Movies, announced in January, was formed to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release as well as distribution to its Amazon Prime members.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Samuel L. Jackson Calls For The #ICantBreatheChallenge (VIDEO)

Samuel L. JacksonSamuel L. Jackson has challenged us all to the #ICantBreatheChallenge in honor of Eric GarnerMike BrownFerguson and the current fight against police brutality:

Will you follow Jackson’s lead and help make this movement viral?

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

Happy 65th Birthday Oscar Nominee Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. JacksonSamuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. After becoming involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles such as in the film Goodfellas before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee. After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever in 1991, he appeared in films such as Patriot GamesAmos & AndrewTrue Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a VengeanceJackie BrownUnbreakableThe IncrediblesShaftSnakes on a PlaneDjango Unchained, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds.

He played Nick Fury in Iron ManIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, and Marvel’s The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson is set to reprise his role as Fury in the 2014 film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the 2015 film, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media, including films, television series, and songs. In 1980, Jackson married LaTanya Richardson, with whom he has a daughter, Zoe.  In October 2011, Jackson became the actor with the highest-grossing film total of all time.

article via wikipedia.org