2018 revealed Black audiences’ box office power, proving to the gatekeepers of Hollywood that Black film, with Black casts, are indeed financial viable. This year, there were more films by Black filmmakers to receive theatrical release than ever before.
In 2018, the domestic box office hit an all-time high of $11.383 billion and the top ten feature films by Black directors accounted for a combined $1.363 billion of that domestic figure.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther grossed $700M domestically and became the #3 all-time top domestic-grossing film. The film has grossed more than $1.3 billion at the global box office and has become a cultural phenomenon.
Ryan Coogler’s film earned three Golden Globe nominations — Best Original Score, Best Original Song and most notably, Best Motion Picture for the drama category.
Though receiving a Golden Globe nomination is not always a predicate for an Academy Award nomination or win, most of the time, the Golden Globes do provide an indication as to how the Academy Awards will shape up.
Nonetheless, the film will stand in history and continue to be a cultural phenomenon, with or without an Oscar nod. #WakandaForever.
Steven Caple Jr.’s Creed II, which has brought in $109.6M to date and is expected to surpass the first installment o Creed box office figure of directorial $109.7M. The sequel has also made been a huge success at the global box office, earning $138M.
Plus, Creed II is the first film of the Rocky franchise to be released theatrically in China and will guarantee more financial success given that China is the second-largest movie market in the world
It’s been a while since Spike Lee has been a part of a major Hollywood film. In 2006, the studio-backed heist drama Inside Man was perceived by film critics to be a radical departure for the filmmaker and was perceived as apolitical (though the film is not devoid of racial politics by any means).
Inside Man was a blockbuster and had taken in $48.169M domestically. Lee’s latest film BlacKkKlansman ran close behind his 2006 hit, earning $48.21M domestically and receiving 4 Golden Globe nods.
Antoine Fuqua teamed up with Denzel Washington again to direct the sequel to the action-packed The Equalizer 2 acquired $102M at the national box office. The two have previously linked up for the films, Training Day and The Magnificent Seven.
Though some took to Twitter to point out the lack of Black women directors featured on the list, Ava DuVernay’s retweet of the article assured that we can expect to see more Black women filmmakers appear on similar lists in the near future.
DuVernay’s success has also made serious ground for women and particularly women of color to take their spot at the directors’ chair as well as work behind the scenes.
One only has to look at her female-led directors’ initiative — a kind of informal enacting of affirmative action by DuVernay for women to direct episodes of her series Queen Sugar.
More sisters coming soon. Very soon. https://t.co/4WQzeoIxbd
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 27, 2018
DuVernay became the first Black woman to direct a $100M feature with A Wrinkle In Time. The visually dazzling film adaptation of the Madeleine L’Engle young-adult novel grossed $100M domestically.
Overall, 2018 has been a huge year for DuVernay. The pioneering filmmaker inked a multi-year and multi-million dollar deal with the television branch of the historic heavyweight Hollywood studio, Warner Bros.
She is directing and serving as executive producer to the scripted miniseries on the Central Park Jogger case, called Central Park Five which is set to be released next year. Plus, two months ago, it was announced that DuVernay will direct a Netflix documentary on the legendary artist and musical genius, Prince.
Other Black talent to feature in the top ten list of directors was Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, which brought in $43M at the box office and starred Taraji P. Henson, as well as Charles Stone III’s Uncle Drew, which grossed $42M domestically.