Currently, three films with a Black lead have been shifted from a theatrical release to digital, should this raise a red flag?
Over the past few weeks, as many films have been pushed back, waiting for theatrical releases, the same hasn’t been done for films starring Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, and another movie has been added to that list in “Charm City Kings.” Mind you, with Rae’s “The Lovebirds” premiering on Netflix, and Charm City Kings heading to HBO Max, it isn’t like they’ll face the free for all Ross’ “The High Note” is going to endure.
However, there is a need to question why were these sold off and not pushed back? Granted, none of them appear to be blockbusters but, considering no one would have thought that of Tyler Perry’s films or “Girl’s Trip,” the lack of opportunity to prove themselves is alarming. For while Netflix and its peers have been chipping away at the idea that streaming releases should be akin to the straight to VHS releases of yore, there remains the issue of secrecy.
Something that, in recent years, has been peeled away by having top 10 list and self-reported numbers. However, we all know there is a major difference between access due to a film being part of a package than the challenge of standing on its own. But, while streaming services can allow a film to save face, it also robs them of any real notable glory. It also snatches the claim the creators or starring actors can have over why the film is a hit.
But our overall point and the ultimate question here is, was it assumed that however much was paid by Netflix or WarnerMedia, owner of HBO Max, that would be far more than what would be made at the box office? Heck, throwing “The High Note” back into the mix, was it decided that the marketing wouldn’t be worth it, and audiences wouldn’t show up, as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic? Mind you, while we don’t maintain a master list of films predominately starring Black actors, “Antebellum,” was pushed back to August. So why weren’t the movies listed above? What made them not worth the, admitted, status symbol which is a theatrical release?