African-Americans Flock to Django Unchained

Controversial film wins a huge Black audience despite criticism.

Posted: 01/07/2013 09:00 AM EST

Despite the debates and criticism the film Django Unchained has created among Black cultural critics and filmmakers like Spike Lee, African-American audiences are coming out in force for the slave-themed western. On Christmas day, when the movie opened, 42 percent of its audience was Black.

The Hollywood Reporter estimates that the percentage has leveled off to about 30 percent. But a survey of the top-performing theaters showing Django shows that the film has crossed over, playing to both white and Black moviegoers.

"Django is playing well to African-Americans and to audiences across the board,” said Erik Lomis, TWC president of distribution. “You can't have these kind of numbers otherwise. It's getting everybody." While the film is a hit among African-American audiences, some of the film’s critics have stated that Hollywood would never allow a Black director to tell such a bloody revenge tale regarding slavery.

If so, it wouldn’t have gotten the fanfare that Quentin Tarantino received. A point similar to this sentiment was made by director Ava Duvernay when talking about her film Middle of Nowhere when she said: “My prospects of having my film about a Black woman seen is less than, say, a white man who makes a film about a Black girl, like Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Django Unchained has grossed $77.8 million in North America and has a strong shot at becoming Tarantino's most successful film.

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(Photo: Columbia Pictures)

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