Director Malcolm D. Lee: ‘to call ‘The Best Man Holiday’ a 'race-themed' film is 'ignorant and tiresome’
Director Malcolm D. Lee isn’t surprised that The Best Man Holiday had a huge debut the weekend at the box office.
The film which held down the No. 1 spot at the box office Friday, brought in an estimated $30.6 million, only about $8 million behind the chart-topper Thor: The Dark World.
During an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, Lee talked about The Best Man Holiday smashing box office expectations, and weighed in on USA Today calling the sequel to The Best Man a “race-themed” film.
“I thought the expectations for The Best Man Holiday were low,” Lee says. “I was not surprised that we did better than they thought. I had a number in my head north of $22 million or north of $25 million. I felt if we did that we would be in really great shape. To be north of $30 million is fantastic. I resent the notion that we over-performed I felt like we were underestimated.”
“I think they had no idea what this movie meant to the fans of the first Best Man,” Lee explained. “They completely underestimated that fans would come out in droves. I completely underestimated that people would call out of work and come to Friday matinees. However I definitely expected people to come out.”
USA Today set off a social media frenzy Sunday when they tweeted and published a headline that read, “‘Holiday’ Nearly Beat ‘Thor’ as Race-Themed Films Soar.” Twitter erupted with many finding the headline to be racially insensitive.
After much backlash on social media, USA Today changed the headline to “’Holiday’ Nearly Beat Thor as Ethnically Diverse Films Soar.”
Lee says to call The Best Man Holiday a “race-themed” film is extremely limiting and downright ignorant and tiresome.
“I think people are fed up with being categorized as separate and apart from what mainstream movies are categorized as. The notion that there’s a “black movie,” “urban movie,” or a “race-themed’ movie makes the film sound like it’s not for anyone but the people that look like the actors in the poster. It’s extremely limiting… I think it’s ignorant and it’s tiresome at this point. The movie was enjoyed by African-Americans, but it’s a movie that can be enjoyed by all races.”
“Let’s be inclusive, because this film is not excluding anyone. African-American audiences see everything. We don’t see a white movie. If Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are in The Break Up, we don’t say ‘oh there’s this “white-themed” movie.’ It’s just categorized as a movie or better yet a romantic comedy. The films that star Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut and Sanaa Lathan should be deemed the same thing.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, due to The Best Man Holiday enjoying big returns at the box office, Universal Pictures and Lee are in talks to make another Best Man film.
Lee addressed reports that he would write and direct the upcoming project as well as produce it alongside Sean Daniel.
“Well if it’s in print it’s probably true,” Lee confessed.
When asked if he would be willing to go on the record saying he would create up a third installment of The Best Man, he said: “Yes, absolutely. I’ve got a good idea for it and we hope I can generate a script warranting us coming back again.”
“It will be done when it’s done. I’m hoping it won’t take another 14 years.”
The Best Man Holiday is now playing in theaters nationwide.