‘Sorry to Bother You’ director says foreign distributors won’t support Black films, claiming they don’t make money abroad

Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley is publicly calling out international distributors who wont push his film.

Boots Riley thegrio.com
Director Boots Riley attends the Film Independent At LACMA Presents Screening And Q&A Of 'Sorry To Bother You' at Bing Theater At LACMA on June 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley is publicly calling out international distributors who are claiming “Black” movies don’t perform well internationally and have in turn treated his film “as such.”

The history making international success of Black Panther was touted as a sign that the tide was changing for Black filmmakers and movies featuring strong Black leads. However, despite Riley’s film finishing its fourth weekend with a domestic total of $14 million – a decidedly strong showing for a specialty flick – he’s still being dismissed by foreign markets.

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“re: the international distribution of #SorryToBotherYou : Even tho we’r outperforming a gang of other movies, distributors r claiming ‘Black movies’ dont do well internationally and r treating it as such,” Riley, wrote Friday on Twitter. “There’r films that bombed here, that theyr distributing. Let em know wsup.”

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Annapurna is handling domestic distribution and holds worldwide rights to the film, but its foreign rollout, via local international distributors, still hasn’t been worked out.

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Sorry to Bother You which is Riley’s feature directorial debut, was released last month and has already received widespread acclaim with glowing reviews in outlets like the New York Times and Variety.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “One comparison for Sorry to Bother You is the 2016 specialty film Moonlight, which, buoyed in part by its Oscar win, grossed $37 million overseas, which was more than half of its total gross.”