Support “Django Unchained”? African-American Moviegoers May Make This Tarantino’s Biggest Film Yet

January 3, 2013  |  

Jamie Foxx with his “Django Unchained” co-star Samuel L. Jackson. Kyle Blair/

The relevance of Django Unchained has been debated by African Americans (and others) on social media for the last month. While some people are eager to see the Quentin Tarantino film that centers around the issue of slavery, others voiced concern over the use of the N-word (100-plus times during the movie). Still others outright panned the flick before it had even hit the theaters. (Looking at you Spike Lee.)

Despite or because of the social media debate, African Americans have turned out in droves to see The Weinstein Company (TWC)  film, starring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, when it opened on Christmas Day.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that 42 percent of Django‘s initial audience was black, according to exit polling data. “TWC estimates that the percentage now is holding steady at about 30 percent, while a look at the top-performing theaters for Django further confirms that it has crossed over, playing to both white and black moviegoers,” according to THR.

“[African American turned out] because of the hype around the film. There are certain segments of the African-American community that want to be associated with what’s perceived to be ‘hot’ or ‘in’ without any consideration given to the actual merit of the project,” says Gil Robertson IV, founder of the African American Film Critics Association. “Now in this case, although Django was not at the top of my list of things to do over the holidays, I think the interest in the film is good if seeing the film will inspire more African Americans to have healthy dialogue on the history of race and slavery in America.”

According to THR, three of the top ten theaters currently showing Django Unchained draw a mostly black crowd: the Cinemark Egyptian 24 in Baltimore, the AMC Hoffman Center in Alexandria, VA, and the AMC Southlake 24 in Atlanta. Two of the theaters draw a mixed crowd: the AMC Empire 25 in New York City and the Regal Atlantic Stadium 16, also in Atlanta.

Thus far the movie has grossed $77.8 million in North America, and THR speculates that it may just become Tarantino’s most successful film at the domestic box office, passing  the $120 million earned by Inglourious Basterds in 2009.

And it seems that both black and white audiences gave the film good reviews. TWC tested Django by holding  two simultaneous screenings in New York. “One audience was made up of African Americans, while the other was a mixed audience (about 15 percent was African American). The film received top, identical scores from the two audiences,” writes THR.

Have you seen Django Unchained yet?

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  • Douglas

    This is not a Black/White thing. In the theatre I was at, I saw whites, Mexicans and Asians in there. People are Taratino fans, period. They know he makes good movies and if this movie has both Jamie Foxx and Sam Jackson in it, you know it’s good. Also Leo did terrific as a villain. If the Spike Lee’s of the world didn’t hate so much on this film, I don’t think so many ppl would have went to see it. Spike and those right wingers hated on this film so much that it made everyone want to run out and see it. Then it turns out the movie is perfection! Kerry Washington glows.

  • msknowitall

    Its history. This HAPPENED. those words were used more than 100 times back then and I’m sure what actually happened to our ancestors was way worse than what was depicted in the film.

    I thought the film was extremely well done along with extraordinary acting. Next to Avengers it was my favorite film this year.

    If you havent seen it can you really judge it?

  • get real

    Slavery and the Civil Rights era. Blk people our history goes waaaay beyond that. Blk history month is coming up and they are going to overdose us with slavery and civil rights movies. If you want to get up on some real Africanblck history, get Hidden Colors 1 and 2. These 2 dvds should be madatory in every school nationwide during blk history month. Pssss, guess what people slavery and the civil rights era are hardly discussed in these movies.

  • get real

    Of course blk folks love this movie, we loved The Help, Precious, and The Blindside. We love black inferiority movies. eBlk folk love to dress their support for these dumb movies as “its our history we can’t run from it”. We love when white folks portray us this way. There’s no way I’m going to see this movie and what’s even more sad is that people are talking little kids to see this movie. A movie where blks are getting beat and called the N word over a 100 times (and I wish one of u say “well rappers say it all day”. Kill that noise) And people wonder why a little blk kid will say “the white doll is better” “the white doll is prettier” etc. Its because of these images and these kinds of movies.

    • bigdede

      This movie is NOTHING like Precious, the Help or Blindside. There is nothing inferior about Django. This man loves his wife and he will do all he can to get her back. He rescues her. Django is not inferior at all. Neither is Broomhilda who does all she can to survive. Before you judge, watch the movie. But since you want to ignore what happened to your ppl years ago when we were called the n-word day in and day out and our Black men were called boys, that’s your right.