The Year in Black Cinema Box Office: 33+ Films Released Theatrically (How Many of Have You Seen?)
By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
It’s that time of the year when I start to collect data on “The Year in Black Cinema” broadly speaking, with 1 month left until we usher in a new year of movies. Below you’ll find a list of all the “black films” that have been released theatrically this year, 2015, in order of box office gross, from the highest grosser to the least.
How do I define “black film”? As I’ve always done, I’m considering films whose central narratives revolve around the lives of people of African descent. The writer and/or director does not have to be of African descent. I’m most interested in the story that’s told, and what we see on the screen, not behind it. Some day that might change, but if only for the sake of simplicity, this is the criteria on which the below list is based.
Some of them are debatable; for example, is Will Smith’s character’s story at the center of “Focus”? I say, yes. So I included “Focus” on the list. There are other buddy pairings like Kevin Hart in both “The Wedding Ringer” and “Get Hard,” but I’d argue that Hart, while a star of each, isn’t central to either of those movies. His characters in both films serve more as fulcrums for his white co-stars. For example, in “Get Hard,” Will Ferrell’s character is the base from which the story leaps: he’s been convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison, and enlists the help of Hart’s character to help toughen him up (hence the title of the movie) and get him ready for his stretch in San Quentin. So I didn’t include either “Get Hard” or “The Wedding Ringer” on this list.
Is “Secret in Their Eyes” Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film? Or is it more Julia Roberts’? Or is the wealth spread around? I didn’t include it on this list, however.
And there’s also “Lila & Eve,” which I did include. While the title suggests a buddy flick, those who’ve seen it know that it isn’t quite what you initially think it is. But I can’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it…