Red Tails

Posted by Unknown Sunday, January 22, 2012


2. Red Tails (LucasFilm/Fox) NEW [2,512 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $8.7M, Weekend $19M
Hollywood studios were stunned by how well the No. 2 film, George Lucas banner film Red Tails, did in matinees Friday. Until they discovered that the Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox movie’s marketing inside the African-American community resulted in busloads of schoolkids and midday filmgoers for the Tuskegee Airmen’s true story. Despite fears that this pic appeared very frontloaded, it went up a whopping +40% from Friday ot Saturday and kept surprising by flying towards $20M. It boasted an ’A’ CinemaScore from audiences. Historians and critics chide this film as a whitewash. Directed by Anthony Hemingway (Treme) it had a stream of other writers working on it over the years but John Ridley (who also has story credit) and Aaron McGruder receive screenplay credit. Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson receive full producer credit.
It took Lucas all the way from 1988 to 2009 to get this pic in production, and he’s been bitter in interviews about the lack of support from major studios for the film. Like he couldn’t bankroll it from the start — which he ultimately did. Reports say he covered the cost of production with his own money, and provided another $35M for distribution. In an interview on The Daily Show on January 9th, Lucas claimed the majors balked at the all-black cast and didn’t think there was any overseas market for the film. Lucasfilm’s knack for creating aerial battles was used here along with high-def Sony F35 cameras. Also talented actors like Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Both Howard (Hart’s War) and Gooding (HBO’s film) have portrayed Tuskegee Airmen previously. According to production notes, Lucasfilm invited some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen to Skywalker Ranch and interviewed them about their WWII experiences. Lucasfilm also had access to the original mission logbooks used by some of the 

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