‘Hidden Figures’ Tops ‘Rogue One,’ With $22.8M #1 Debut at Box Office

(PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX 2000)

article by Scott Mendelson via forbes.com

With the always present caveat that “rank doesn’t matter,” it turns out that Hidden Figures was the top movie of the weekend, not Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As you probably know, the weekend box office that everyone reports on Sunday is comprised of estimates and when the rankings are close the order can sometimes shift when the final numbers drop. So yeah, Hidden Figures earned a terrific $22.8 million, about $1m more than estimated, which is a sign that the film is building on its buzz and word-of-mouth.

Meanwhile, Rogue One had to settle for a $22m fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $477.3m. The story though, isn’t necessarily that Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Mahershala Ali, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Kevin Costner, bested the fourth weekend of Star Wars (or the third weekend of Sing) in its wide release debut. No, it’s that Hidden Figures, a historical drama about female African-American NASA mathematicians whose skills were essential to putting Americans into space, earned $22.8 million on its opening weekend, bringing the domestic total for the $25m Fox 2000/Chermin release to $24.7m.

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the triumph of said Allison Schroeder/Ted Melfi-written studio programmer, based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, is a huge win for the notion that movies about women, women of color no less, can be not just critically acclaimed and award-worthy but also multiplex-friendly box office hits. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We should know this by now. The Help earned $169 million domestic in 2011, more than X-Men: First Class ($146m), and earned about as much worldwide ($216m) as the 3D/$200m+ Green Lantern ($219m).

Back in 1995, Waiting to Exhale made about as much domestically ($67.4m) as Bad Boys, Outbreak and Heat. The entire Tyler Perry media empire is built on audiences (black women and otherwise) going to movie theaters to see mainstream melodramas about African-American women. Hell, we forget about it now, but Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple earned $94.1 million domestic in 1985 ($216m in 2017 dollars). That doesn’t mean every Baggage Claim is going to break out, but if you treat movies like Hidden Figures like an event, the audience will show up.

To read more, go to: Box Office: ‘Hidden Figures’ Topped ‘Rogue One,’ But Its Real Victory Was That $22.8M Debut

Tyler Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” Tops Tom Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher 2’ at Box Office with $27.6 Million

TYLER PERRY'S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN

Tyler Perry in “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONSGATE)

article by Brent Lang via Variety.com

It was a battle of the sequels at the multiplexes this weekend, as “Boo! A Madea Halloween” narrowly edged out “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to claim first place at the domestic box office.

The latest film in the long-running Madea series racked up $27.6 million. Comedian Chris Rock may be entitled to a percentage of the gross. Creator Tyler Perry was inspired to take his pistol-packing grandma trick-or-treating after Rock’s comedian character in 2014’s “Top Five” joked that his latest movie, a passion project about a slave revolt, was going head-to-head at the box office with “Boo! A Madea Halloween.” What was once intended as satire eventually became a seasonally appropriate reality.

“This isn’t the end of the series, it’s just the beginning,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, who noted that Perry also scored with 2013’s “A Madea Christmas.” “There are so many holidays left. There’s Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and he hasn’t even done a Thanksgiving one yet.”

Don’t look for “Boo!” to end up in the Oscar race or on many reviewers’ “ten best” lists, but the Halloween comedy is a hit for distributor Lionsgate and reaffirms Perry’s star power. Despite being routinely derided by critics, the film series has an extremely loyal fan base. Collectively they’ve earned nearly $380 million. The latest Madea cost $20 million to make, and attracted a more diverse crowd. Typically the films have an audience that’s between 80% and 90% African-American, but this installment’s crowd was only 60% African-American, with the rest of ticket buyers made up largely of Caucasians and Hispanic movie-goers.

“The film crossed over and it expanded the audience,” said David Spitz, co-president of domestic distribution at Lionsgate. “Madea is such a beloved character and the timing helped. There are not many comedies in the marketplace right now and Halloween is right around the corner.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/box-office-madea-halloween-edges-out-jack-reacher-2-with-27-6-million-1201898150/

Jerald Gary, 30, Buys Historic Regal Theater in Chicago to Restore and Use with Art Non-Profits

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Jerald Gary (Photo credit: Melanie L. Brown for Steed Media Service)

article by Melanie L. Brown via rollingout.com

Rolling out interviewed Jerald Gary, the new owner of the New Regal Theater in Chicago. The 30-year-old talked about his memories of the Regal and how he came to acquire this historic building on the South Side.

Who is Jerald Gary?

I am a private equity investor. I bought the Regal Theater in 2014 to provide access to the performing arts for the community. I created the Chicago Regal Foundation to use the theater as a cultural asset that the community can leverage through various arts nonprofits. My day to day is figuring out how to render capital of the community more active and productive.

What is some history that you’ve heard about the Regal?

When I was growing up, the Regal was really in its prime. It reopened in 1987. It revived in 85′. I think it took them two years to do renovation, reopened it in 1987, and got it a landmark right there in ’92. Matter of fact, Mayor Harold Washington facilitated some money because doing the political thing for office in return was bringing dollars into the community. I got a picture of Ed Gardner and Harold Washington right there in the lobby. Harold was giving Ed a million-dollar check for the restoration. I saw a flyer the other day, it was Tupac and Biggie’s first time in Chicago on the Regal Theater stage. They were introducing a new [act], 17-year-old Kanye West, at the bottom of the flyer. Crucial Conflict was at the show, Da Brat was at the show, Common was at the show and a couple of other artists, at one show. That was the type of stuff that was going on. I [saw] Common and told him I was about to buy the Regal Theater and he stated how he thought Beyoncé and Jay were going to buy it. There was no Regal Theater from the mid ’70s until Avalon Theater was restored and they did the New Regal in 1987.

Who were some of the people that got their start with plays here?

Tyler Perry got his start at the Regal Theater. I was too young to go to his stuff but I remember his bus being in the parking lot. He was sleeping in his bus. It was a lot of church plays here.

Have you thought about changing the name from the New Regal Theater?

Yes, so we are going to change the name to Avalon Regal Theater because the building we’re in is the Avalon, which was from 1927 up until the mid ’70s. It was the Operation Regal Theater in Bronzeville so at the time so we had a lot of Irish German immigrants who lived here who came here for shows. Somebody came to me and said ” Wait right here.” The person came back and gave me a flyer from 1929 of a silent movie/music dance with the orchestra pit. They would do that type of stuff here until like the ’60s. It was mostly a movie house before they had multiplexes, this was the spot to come and see movies. A lot of white people come to me and say they use to come to Avalon and use to watch cartoons on Saturday. That’s the heritage as well, we want to preserve. The whole legacy of the Avalon Regal Theater (ART) is what we’re trying to get trending, the rich heritage of the South Side. The concept we have is we really feel this could be a Beale Street like in Memphis, [Tennessee]. They got like 20 or 30 music joints like on one strip, [along with] restaurants and bars. You can’t just have a venue and people can’t go get dinner before the show, a cocktail after the show. What you gonna get? Are you going to get robbed after the show? That’s what’s going to happen here now. Why can’t we have this [be] Beale Street? I feel like the South Side is like the Africa of the city. I think we have the opportunity to do crazy stuff like they did in Dubai. It’s cheap to do. We bought the Regal for $100,000. When I say “we” I mean the companies I chair. We bought it from the FDIC. It took us about nine months to negotiate because it’s a landmark. We had to get a blessing from a commissioner. We got about $7 million dollars worth of work to do. Three million dollars of that is on the facade. We probably are going to do a Kickstarter campaign.

When do you plan on opening?

We hope to be running by 2017.

How can people get more information about the Regal?

They can go to www.regaltheater.org and it has a lot of information about the project and the Regal itself.

To read full article, go to: http://rollingout.com/2016/06/03/new-regal-theater-868707/

OWN is Now the Highest-Rated Cable Network among African-American Women

Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 12, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images).

Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 12, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

article via thegrio.com

Since the OWN cable network debuted in 2011, its popularity has skyrocketed among African-American women, particularly in the last two years.

At a time when many cable networks have been experiencing declines in their viewership, OWN’s average prime-time viewership has grown roughly 30%, climbing to 537,000 in the past two years, as many network have suffered significant declines. According to The Wall Street Journal, the network’s new lineup has resonated strongly with women and black audiences.

OWN is now the highest rated cable network among African American women entertainment screen shot 2016 03 23 at 4 10 11 pm

Since signing on writer-producer Tyler Perry in 2012, who has four shows on the network now, and adding recent shows like Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” and the megachurch drama “Greenleaf,” OWN has been able to grow its viewership and visibility.

OWN is now the highest-rated cable network among African-American women, and it is also in the top 20 for all women, according to Discovery.

It remains to be seen whether or not OWN can keep up its momentum while at the same time battling the problems of recent economic pressures as well as the rise of Internet-based television.

Read more: http://thegrio.com/2016/03/23/oprah-winfrey-network-african-american-women/

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Delivers Its Most-Watched Year in the Network’s History

oprah & own logo

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network closed out 2015 as its most-watched year in the network’s history, achieving its fourth consecutive year of double-digit prime growth in total viewers (up +13% with 487,000 total viewers).

2015 was also the network’s best year ever and fourth year of growth in the key 25-54 demographic for women (W25-54, up +10% vs. 2014).  OWN’s W25-54 prime average ranked #25 among ad-supported cable networks, up +4 spots vs. 2014.

OWN is the fastest-growing top 25 ad-supported cable network in prime among W25-54 and is one of only two ad-supported cable networks to have achieved double-digit prime growth in total viewers in each of the past four years.  Additionally, OWN was the #2 cable network in prime among African-American women.

For 2015, OWN was the #1 cable network for women and the #1 network on all of TV among African-American women and total viewers on Tuesday nights.  Popular Tuesday night series “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “If Loving You is Wrong,” from Tyler Perry, both ranked among the top seven original scripted series on ad-supported cable for W25-54 and were primetime’s top two original cable series among African-American women.

Both series ranked among Tuesday night’s top three original cable series for W25-54 and W18+ and were Tuesday night’s top two original series on all of TV among African-American women and total viewers.

OWN was Saturday night’s #2 network on all of TV among African-American women.  Saturdays on OWN yielded the top nine original series on ad-supported cable (non-sports) among all African-American women.

These popular series included: “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” “Legends: OWN at the Apollo,” “Livin’ Lozada,” “Raising Whitley,” “Flex & Shanice,” “2 Fat 2 Fly,” “Deion’s Family Playbook” and “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

Additionally, on Friday nights, OWN was the #2 cable network among African-American women.  Comedy series “For Better or Worse” and “Love Thy Neighbor,” both from Tyler Perry, ranked among Friday night’s top three original cable series for African-American women.

Source: The Nielsen Company

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2016/01/own-delivers-its-most-watched-year-in-network-history/#m4qu5jyL3i8xhIh4.99

Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, CeCe Winans Pay Tribute to Cicely Tyson at 2015 Kennedy Center Honors (VIDEO)

Cicely Tyson at the Kennedy Center Honors

Cicely Tyson at the Kennedy Center Honors (PHOTO CREDIT: KRIS CONNOR/GETTY IMAGES)

Legendary actress Cicely Tyson was recognized Tuesday night for her contribution to the performing arts at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.

Tyson, 91, has had a dynamic career—spanning over 60 years, earning her Academy and SAG award nominations and wins from the Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Awards.

On hand to help celebrate her accomplishments were actors Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Tyler Perry during the 38th annual broadcast.

“Cicely Tyson chose to empower us when we didn’t even know it was possible for us to be empowered,” Perry began his introduction. “For six decades, she has been dilligent in her pursuit to better us all.”

Singer CeCe Winans joined in on the tribute by singing Tyson’s favorite gospel song, “Blessed Assurance.”

Click here to watch the entire show.

article by Lauren Porter via essence.com

CEO Charles King Lands Apple Heiress Laurene Jobs as Leading Investor in Multicultural Media Company MACRO

Macro CEO Charles King

MACRO Founder and CEO Charles King

According to Variety.com, former William Morris Endeavor (WME) agency partner Charles King has lined up Apple heiress Laurene Powell Jobs as the leading investor in MACRO, the media company King recently founded to produce content for the African-American, Latino and multicultural markets.

King announced Wednesday that Jobs’ Emerson Collective would head the first round of investment in his company, with contributions also coming from a host of other technology and innovation firms and individuals, including Michael Kassan’s Medialink, and MNM Creative, a multi-national media and entertainment company. The announcement did not describe the size of the individual investments in the initial funding round, but put the total infusion in the eight-figure range.

King left the talent agency and announced the formation of his new company at the beginning of the year, with a focus on building ownership of creative properties conceived and made by minority artists. One of the most prominent minority agents in Hollywood, King was the long-time representative of multi-hyphenate Tyler Perry. MACRO has signaled that it will be announcing projects with filmmakers Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) and Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”).

MACRO Charles King

Other investors in MACRO include Raymond McGuire, the global head of corporate and investment banking at Citigroup, tech entrepreneur Justin Yoshimura and Michael Kane, managing director of the Los Angeles-based private equity firm Caltius Capital.

Jobs is the widow of Apple computer founder Steve Jobs. Her net worth has been pegged by Forbes at more than $18 billion. Her Emerson Collective had previously provided seed money to small startups focused on education and health care.

“Charles is uniquely poised to lead what’s sure to become the kind of media company that will launch careers and brands, but more importantly, add rich value to our entertainment culture,” Jobs said in a statement. “Charles has an extraordinary set of creative instincts — he’s demonstrated a remarkable ability to amplify talent, trends and content to multi-cultural audiences throughout his career.”

King said that his company would serve a market that “has been vastly underserved for too long.” He called the newly-announced investors “boundary-pushing, innovative thinkers and leaders in their respective fields of technology, finance and media.”

original article by James Rainey; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson