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Black Out

Black Out


Writer and activist Jasmyne Cannick has some things to say about the black gay film Dirty Laundry being pulled from a Chelsea theater.

What happens when you put a black movie in a theater outside of the black community its opening weekend?

Let me take a guess. Well, if it's a good movie with a solid cast, it will sell out two shows, one on Friday and one on Saturday. It will then pull a higher per-screen average than any of the top-10-grossing films in America. In this case it beat out The Golden Compass ($7,308), This Christmas ($2.640), Fred Claus ($1,446), Beowulf ($1,524), Bee Movie ($962), and American Gangster ($1,190).

And then it will be pulled from the theater because of concerns that "the producers may have bought the gross." Coupled with suspicions that over $1,500 in advance ticket sales on a Sunday before the theater opened is "highly abnormal for a Sunday movie."

Let me guess, too many blacks in line last weekend?

But that's just my guess at the reasons that Dirty Laundry, a new black PG-13 rated film starring Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, and Terri J. Vaughn, was pulled from the Clearview Chelsea Theater in New York City just days after its opening. Did I mention it pulled a higher per screen average than any of the top-10-grossing films in America? But what do you expect when you take a movie with an almost all-black cast and put it on one screen in Chelsea? Chelsea?

Do you think that would ever happen to a Tyler Perry film or a Spike Lee joint? Do you think they did this to Juno, which also opened last weekend? Black films need black audiences to succeed, and we're not in Chelsea. Try Harlem, the Bronx, and the Jamaica section of Queens. But what pisses me off even more is that when we make the effort to go out of our way, in the cold, to support the film at a theater that is miles away from where it should be screening, we get accused of buying out the tickets and falsifying numbers. Give me a break.

And you may be wondering how this could have happened in the first damn place, and I hate to be the one to say I told you so, but I did. I just hope that because of the film's gay character, black America doesn't ignore the that fact this is still a black film that's being unfairly removed from its only theater in New York during a time when black films are far and few between.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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