Monday, October 21, 2013

12 Years a Slave Opens Big

According to THR, Steve McQueen's harrowing drama 12 Years a Slave did impressive business in its theatrical debut, playing to both arthouse audiences and African-Americans as it continues to build awards momentum. The Fox Searchlight release grossed $960,000 from 19 theaters in six top markets for an enviable location average of $50,526, by far the best of the weekend and one of the top averages ever for a movie opening in that number of theaters.  Produced by New Regency and Plan B -- Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner's company -- 12 Years a Slave has earned stellar reviews since its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. It also drew an A CinemaScore. 

The film, financed by New Regency, tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northup, stars opposite Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodward, Paul Dano and Pitt.  Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez said 12 Years a Slave "reached an incredibly diverse audience. Playing in theaters including Lincoln Plaza in New York and the Showcase Icon in Chicago, we have been attracting both the art/specialty cinephile crowd, as well as the African-American audience."  On Friday, 12 Years a Slave will expand into an additional six cities and increase its total theater count to more than 100.
Sidebar: Lupita Nyong'o was AMAZING in this film. I cannot believe she is straight out of school! Well, it was Yale. Lol! She was so good that I hope she is nominated for an Oscar. Even though this movie was very hard to watch, I recommend it to everyone.  The atrocities African-Americans had to endure at the hands of slavery, and white supremacy is mind-blowing and could never fully be captured in one film, but you do get a taste of it.  The glimpse that they show is enough to remind us all of the horrible past of this country. I especially love the fact that this is the story of a free black man, who was kidnapped into slavery.  So, we get to see rare scenes where a black man is upstanding citizen in white society back in the 1800's. That was refreshing. There are more stories like this, but we never get to hear about them.  It is my favorite reason this story is being told.

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