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'Best Man Holiday': Does its success change the future of black film?

The Best Man Holiday, the R-rated sequel to 1999’s The Best Man, opened to $30.6 million this weekend, surprising box-office watchers who had predicted the $17 million film wouldn’t generate half of its ultimate take home. Yet to director Malcolm D. Lee, who wrote and produced the film along with its predecessor, the only surprise is how Hollywood hasn’t evolved its thinking toward films featuring black actors.

“I’m tired of the dismissive, marginalized way that movies starring African-American actors who don’t happen to be Will Smith or Denzel Washington or Kevin Hart, [are talked about when they] perform well at the box office,” Lee says. “Tyler Perry makes a movie and it’s number one almost every time. Think Like a Man was number one two weeks in a row. People talk about [Best Man Holiday] over-performing, but I feel like we got under-estimated.”

The majority of the audience for Best Man Holiday (87 percent) was African-American females,  90 percent of whom saw the original film. More important, the sequel generated an A+ with exit pollster Cinemascore indicating that the film should broaden out to a wider audience.

Lee is counting on it.
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