Beyond the Lights, though heavily promoted leading up to its premiere, grossed only $13 million as of December 3. The film's director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, penned an open letter encouraging moviegoers to support the film.
Bythewood, known mostly for bringing the now classic love story Love & Basketball, shares the difficulties she faced in making Beyond the Lights happen: "Beyond the Lights took incredible fight to get made," she wrote. "Four years of writing, and two years of overcoming 'no.' Every studio balked. Twice. But I kept fighting."
Her drive to continue pushing came from her past experience when directing the Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps-led Love & Basketball, which, she said, was not an instant gold-mine in the beginning: "What gave me the courage was Love & Basketball. Every studio turned down that film, too. But I never gave up because I believed in it with my whole heart and soul."
When concluding her letter, Bythewood explained just why she thinks the movie is specifically important to the Black community and highlighted the film's lead actors' performances in the process:
"There is a perception within our community and the world that Black people don't love each other... That perception is dangerous," she said. "We need positive images to counter the negative portrayals we see every day... [The movie has] phenomenal performances. Insane chemistry between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker. Dope music. Beautiful complex mother/daughter and father/son relationships that are rarely explored with people of color."
Beyond the Lights is currently still showing in select theaters.
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