November 6, 2008

The Bradley Effect is no More -- For Politics or Movies

Before the historic election of Barack Obama the political establishment wondered whether white folks would pull the lever for a black man. Done. Over.

At the same time Hollywood folks were also worried about whether white women would go to see a film about black women. See earlier piece: Will the Secret Life of Bees Suffer the Bradley Effect? We can put to rest that myth. Done. Over.

The Secret Life of Bees -- a small film made for only $11 million-- is a big fat hit with a gross as of November 4th of $26 million. The film has done better than the other two recent black themed films The Express and the Miracle at St. Anna's (Spike Lee's film) combined.

People (by people I mean Hollywood talkers) constantly complain about the failure of women's films but then never acknowledge the successes. Since they won't, I will.

AND for even more perspective, the Leonardo DiCaprio/Russell Crowe starrer Body of Lies with a $70 million budget opened a week before Bees and has grossed $34 million.

Looks like the Bees women will be eclipsing the big stars. This just continues to prove my point about the women's market -- we are here, we see films. Keep making them and please don't release them all on the same weekend.

From an LA Times piece

"The movie is playing in two parallel realms," says Stephen Gilula, the co-chief operating officer of "The Secret Life of Bees" maker and distributor Fox Searchlight. "It's playing as an African American film, and it's playing as a mainstream female film."

The audience for the film, adapted from Sue Monk Kidd's bestselling novel, is as much as 70% female, Gilula says.

As often happens with films attracting black audiences, "Bees" opened strongly in theaters frequented by African Americans but fell sharply in its second weekend. The film's grosses at AMC Southlake Pavilion 24 in Morrow, Ga., for example, fell more than 61% over the Oct. 24-26 weekend.
Congrats to the filmmakers and to the folks at Fox Searchlight for their great marketing campaign.
Buzz for ‘Bees’ is black and white (LA Times)