After its Aug. 27 premiere, Candyman has secured the top spot at the domestic box office, grossing an impressive $22.3 million, reports IndieWire. This feat makes Nia DaCosta the first Black woman director to score a No. 1 film.
In what has been an especially difficult year for the film industry, the horror flick was projected to make approximately $15 million in the United States and Canada during its premiere weekend. However, in just two days, it’s already smashed that estimate, with an additional $5.2 million in other territories for a combined total earnings of $27.6 million.
In a risky move that clearly paid off, it was released solely in theaters, unlike many movies that have opted for hybrid releases offered simultaneously on streaming services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for release on June 12, 2020, the highly anticipated slasher movie was postponed three times over the past year because of the pandemic.
Directed by the 31-year-old Brooklyn native, DaCosta, and co-written by Get Out mastermind Jordan Peele, many are unclear if the new version is a reboot, a sequel, or a standalone film. According to a press release from Universal Pictures, Candyman 2021 is a “fresh take” and “contemporary” version of the 1992 cult classic.
The film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits), and Colman Domingo (Zola) alongside Vanessa Williams, Tony Todd, and Virginia Madsen, who reprise their roles from the original.
Whether the characters of color are gruesomely killed off before the opening scenes à la Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps style in Scream 2 or our scary movies fail to get greenlit due to assumptions they are not profitable, historically and culturally, Black people have maintained a precarious and paradoxical relationship with the horror film genre. In fact, director Xavier Burgin examines this very topic in his critically acclaimed 2019 documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, which is available to watch on YouTube.
Domingo explained to FabTV how this unique dichotomy attracted him to the role of William Burke in Candyman. “I’m very interested in terms of like stories about Black trauma and how it affects us…And how we’re trying to seek some sort of, I don’t know, retribution,” shared the 51-year-old actor. “Burke is a character that’s been waiting, waiting for his opportunity to say, ‘You can never forget the names of those that have been killed.'”
Thanks to the surprising success of Peele’s 2017 film Get Out—which had a budget of just $4.5 million but returned a remarkable $255 million in domestic and international box-office sales—it appears the tide has finally turned for Black horror films. The growing popularity of the genre is evidenced in the increase in recent years of horror movies starring Black actors and/or dealing with issues of race, including Ma, Us, Antebellum, and The First Purge.
DaCosta spoke to theGrio about this long-overdue industry shift. “[With Get Out, Jordan Peele] proved that not only could the movie make a ton of money in the States and be critically acclaimed, but [it] also [did well] internationally. That helps for other people to follow. I think that’s what’s changing…We’re able to prove ourselves more now.”
Below check out the trailer for Candyman in theatres now.