For years Hollywood studios and members of the audience have floated out the statement that audiences as a whole were not interested in films featuring leads & directors/creators that are people of color, women, LGTBQ, etc. The last few years have proven some those very wrong and right now we’re in the middle of it being proven wrong again when it comes to films featuring black leads from black creators.
Disney’s Black Panther has been dominating at the box office around the world for weeks now and has just crossed the $1 billion mark, while their latest film A Wrinkle in Time has just debuted to take the second spot at the top of the box office this weekend.
For the first time in history, two films both by black directors have held those top spots. Not only that both films were major blockbusters with budgets over $100 million.
This is something worth celebrating.
Yet, if you look at the internet and even some major news outlets they are taking a different tact.
Instead of leading with a headline that celebrates this milestone of the two films, the two are pitted against one another.
Right now there are some going “Well every movie is in competition with one another” or “Should they ignore the lower opening weekend of A Wrinkle In Time just because of the diversity win?”
First, yes of course obviously all films are in competition with one another.
Second, of course, we don’t overlook what the actual numbers are for the film.
When Hollywood has been dealing with an issue of lack of diversity for so many years, being put on full display the last few years that it’s an issue, pitting the two films that showcase diversity against one another as if there can only be one successful one overall does way more harm than good.
There is no reason that the negative of A Wrinkle In Time should have been harped on first, with the positives kept for further down. Especially since most people tend to tune out of a story very early in, as most reading this already have left.
They very easily could have led with the history-making that these films had together, before segueing into the actual numbers and how they are both doing at the box office. As it stands, one film is getting all the praise and the other is getting heaped with the negatives.
Negatives that should be covered as they are facts, but not in the way presented.
Here’s how another outlet handled the news
While this article didn’t go into depth about the meaning of lower numbers for Wrinkle, it could be argued that’s not necessary. Readers/audiences are savvy enough now to know that $33 million on an opening weekend for a $100 million film isn’t exactly the best that it could be.
Even before either film hit screens there were plenty of outlets and internet folks asking which film would dominate and which one would falter, which is just the worst way to look at these. Again it’s making it out to be that there can only be one successful diverse film at any given time.
Why not try to boost both and show that we want more of this?
Oh, that’s right, we can’t have nice things without some showing up to spoil things. You’d think I’d have figured out this internet thing by now. (Sarcasm inserted here.)
Let’s also not forget that while both films have fantastical elements, they are very different films that might not fully appeal to the same audiences. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was amazing, but it also had the benefit of having the Marvel Studios catalog of success behind it.
Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time has the long storied caliber of Disney behind it, but to many, it was seen as a kid’s film which might have kept a lot from seeing the film on opening weekend. There is still plenty of time for the film to make lots of money if word of mouth and reviews entice people to go check it out.
Declaring one a failure and a flop so soon is misguided and wrong.
Stop trying to pit those from the groups still deemed to be “minorities” against one another. Pitting Justice League and Thor: Ragnarok against one another is far different because let’s be honest, straight white male led films are a dime a dozen and there are always tons more around the corner.
Those in the minority groups do not get this caliber level of film every day.
So just let us have our win and stop trying to take things away from us.
We’ve already had enough taken away from us.