AMPAS/Shutterstock (11758694c) Nia DaCosta
Nia DaCosta during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Scientific And Technical Achievement Awards, 13 Feb 2021 (AMPAS/Shutterstock)

Audiences Embrace Black Female Director of ‘Candyman’ and the First Asian-Led Marvel Film, ‘Shang-Chi’ at the Box Office

As America marked Labor Day and the official end of summer, two history-making films brought a one-two punch of diversity to the U.S. box office.

It all started with the Aug. 27 launch of the horror film Candyman, a sequel to the film of the same name released in 1992.

With Candyman’s impressive $22-million opening weekend, Sharon Pruitt-Young of NPR reported that the film’s director, Nia DaCosta, has become the first Black female director to have a number-one movie in the country.

According to Pruitt-Young, “before DaCosta, Ava DuVernay had come the closest to nabbing the top spot, opening at No. 2 in 2018 with A Wrinkle in Time.”

Co-written by Get Out director Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, Candyman stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (who rose to fame in HBO’s Watchmen) as an artist who accidentally brings to life an urban legend in the form of a mass killer called “Candyman.” 

In addition to entertaining audiences with the classic horror movie jumps and scares, the movie also earned an impressive 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics lauding the film’s exploration of modern Black lives impacted by gentrification.

“Candyman’s box office success and DaCosta’s historic accomplishment are especially impressive given the current climate,” Pruitt-Young said. “Movie theaters are still recovering, as the pandemic drags on [and after] last year’s lockdowns hit the film industry hard.”

Following Candyman’s turn at the top of the box office, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings took over on Labor Day weekend.

With a record-breaking $71.4 million — giving it the largest Labor Day debut ever — Shang-Chi is also notable as the first Marvel superhero film ever to be led by a Chinese superhero. 

“I think it’s really cool that the most successful studio in Hollywood has made it one of their greatest goals to continue to tell stories that reflect the ethnic background of their fans,” Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton said in a recent interview with Out’s Raffy Ermac.

In a social media post, Canadian actor Simu Liu, who plays the titular Shang-Chi, encouraged fans of all races to see the film, saying: “We are not an experiment. We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise.”

Liu’s “experiment” remark was in reference to recent comments made by Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who said the staggered release of Shang-Chi in theaters and then the Disney+ streaming platform was an “interesting experiment.”

With no major films scheduled for release on the weekend of Sept. 10, both films will be battling it out again in just a few days to see which scores a second weekend at the top of box office rankings.

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

Latest News

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…