'Django Unchained' turning n-word controversy into box office success

Django Unchained has received overwhelmingly strong praise from film critics, and at the same time ignited a highly publicized controversy over Quentin Tarantino’s use of the n-word in his script.

However, the controversy surround the slave revenge epic seems to be translating into big profits.

As the weekend approaches, Django Unchained is holding the top spot at the box office.

According to Box Office Mojo, the film starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson took in $4,551,813 Wednesday, beating out the holiday heavyweight The Hobbit and the hit musical Les Miserables.

In just 9 days, Django has brought in an impressive $83 million in domestic box office sales, which is impressive considering that 1997’s slave epic Amistad only made $44 million during its entire run.

Django is on pace to be Tarantino’s biggest film ever at the box office. According to the Toronto Sun “if the trend holds, the blood-soaked slave-revenge fable will rack up more at the box office than Pulp Fiction ($213.9 million worldwide), Kill Bill Vol. 1 ($180.9 million worldwide), Kill Bill Vol. 2 ($152.1 million worldwide) and previous record holder, Inglourious Basterds ($321.4 million worldwide).”

Although the n-word is reportedly used 110 times in Django, black audiences have been supportive of the film.

On its Christmas Day opening, 42 percent of Django’s audience was black, according to exit polling data. But the film has not been immune to criticism.

Director Spike Lee recently went public with his opposition of Django.

“I can’t speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it,” Lee said. “All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me.”

Later this month the film will be released internationally. If foreign audiences embrace the film, and if Django receives Oscar nominations, we might be seeing more heroic slave epics coming to a theater near you.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC