Taraji P. Henson‘s new film, Proud Mary, isn’t doing too well at the box office.
The film, directed by Babak Najafi, follows the story of an assassin who ends up looking after a teenage boy. Mary, a hitwoman for an organized crime family, finds herself caring for the boy as the film progresses.
Despite being projected to make $20 million during its debut weekend, according to Forbes, it only made $10 million on its opening weekend. The film, which debuted at No. 8 in the country, made $3.2 million on opening day, in which it competed with The Post and other debuts for Paddington 2 and The Commuter.
By comparison, The Post earned nearly $24 million domestically.
Is Sony burying the movie?
When the trailer dropped for Proud Mary, folks were excited. It looked like an epic action movie, one that Black people would appreciate for showing us in the lead role.
And then, after the trailer… nothing.
It was like Sony dropped the ball on the movie, going silent as the release approached, which led some people to ask whether the studio was burying the film.
Henson herself even expressed her frustration with the lack of marketing, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she had been “begging and pleading my connections and doing whatever I can to make this movie the best it can be. I don’t just put my name on stuff just to say it; I get down and dirty.”
“[Studios] never expect [black films] to do well overseas. Meanwhile, you go overseas and what do you see? People trying to look like African-Americans with Afros and dressing in hip-hop fashions. To say that Black culture doesn’t sell well overseas, that’s a lie. Somebody just doesn’t want to do their job and promote the film overseas,” she added.
“Do you not have people streaming my Christmas specials in Australia? Come on, y’all! I don’t understand the thinking. Send me over there, and if it fails, then we don’t do it again, but why not try? If I knew this movie was gonna make money domestically, I would try to get more money overseas. It’s business!”
Some, including filmmaker Will Packer, took to social media to encourage people to support the film given its uniqueness in having a Black woman lead in an action film. Its support, they argued, would be a litmus test on the future of such films in Hollywood.
Taraji supports everybody. She’s an amazing actress & it’s so disappointing that Proud Mary wasn’t marketed right. She deserves better than that. 😣
— nelley🎀 (@JayBeQueenin) January 14, 2018
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 14, 2018
Go see @ProudMaryMovie. Because we don’t get Black women as action leads often. And if the movie doesn’t do well, it will be a while before we do again. If you’re not interested in the movie, buy a ticket anyway & don’t go. Help Taraji. She’d do it for you. pic.twitter.com/1a7gsq4Nky
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 14, 2018