With around $36.6 million, Thor: The Dark World again won the box office, but competition for the number one spot was surprisingly heated, so there go the “hammer” and “clobber” puns I would have otherwise used. Malcolm D. Lee’s The Best Man Holiday, sequel to 1999’s The Best Man, more than outdid the modest expectations set by box-office prognosticators: it far exceeded its $17 million budget with a $30.6 million opening.
As far as major awards precursors are concerned, The Best Man only earned an Indie Spirit nod for Terrence Howard, so I’m not arguing that this holiday-themed sequel has any major awards prospects. However, the success of Holiday highlights the lack of diversity in most American filmmaking: Hollywood still underserves audiences whose representation has been historically lacking; there’s interest in films about those whom the industry consistently marginalizes.
However, as Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo points out, “[i]t’s simplistic and inaccurate, though, to assume that any movie with a largely African-American cast is going to be successful”; he further cites Baggage Claim and Tyler Perry Presents Peeples as African-American-targeted films that failed at the box office.
But some fail to truly grasp this problem of representation – even as they try to address it. That someone wrote a headline referring to Holiday as “race-themed” (I’m not making this up) and that no one pulled said person to the side for that headline make the problem even more evident. As some have pointed out, a film isn’t necessarily centered on race simply because actresses and actors of color lead the film or make up most of its cast.
But I digress…