No surprise that David Fincher’s latest mind-bender, "Gone Girl," is number 1 this weekend. Its post-New York Film Festival premiere reception about a week ago, was mostly strong, by audiences and critics alike. So one could only assume that it would carry that momentum into its opening theatrical box office. And it most certainly did, earning a healthy $38 million, beating out its fellow newbie, "Annabelle," the unnecessary and weak sequel/prequel to one of the best horror films I’ve seen in recent years, "The Conjuring." It came in a close second, earning $37.2 million.
Both films bumped last week’s number 1 film, the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua reteaming, "The Equalizer," which landed in 3rd place this weekend, with a box office cume of $64.5 million, after 2 weekends in release.
In terms of new films opening this weekend, covered on this blog, the Nas documentary, "NAS: Time is Illmatic," has done quite well thus far, considering that it’s playing on just 2 screens nationwide, and, has earned $109,000.
And there’s also "The Good Lie," the Reese Witherspoon starrer, about refugees of the second Sudanese Civil War, in the USA, and the *nice white American woman* assigned to help them adjust.
That the project comes from the executive producer of "The Blind Side" should be of some indication of what to expect from this. As I’ve said before about the film, while I’m certainly pleased that the 3 young men who star in the film. will get to star in what appears to be a rather high profile Hollywood project, and that the 3 real-life young men whose story inspired the film, will get to see their lives reinterpreted on the big screen, I’m just no longer interested in this particular kind of story, or representation of Africans on screen, which we’ve seen in a variety of movie incarnations over the years.
Hollywood seems to revel in stories like this that present limited and overwrought depictions of Africans, especially when there’s an opportunity to insert a white protagonist, if there isn’t already one in the original "based on" narrative. If Reese Witherspoon’s character was a black American woman, would the executive producer of ‘The Blind Side’" be interested in seeing it adapted for the screen?
When will that story be made into a film by Hollywood producers?
The so-called "lost boys of Sudan" have been the subject of a handful of documentaries over the last decade, since the signing of a peace treaty that was to end what was the 2nd Sudanese civil war, in 2005. I’d suggest you take a look at those films first, before watching this one – that is, if you plan to. "Lost Boys of Sudan," and "God Grew Tired of Us," are two of the more popular titles.
Playing the 3 refugees are Ugandan-born actor Arnold Oceng ("My Brother The Devil"), South Sudanese actor, model and social activist, Ger Duany (himself once a child soldier), and Emmanuel Jal, a South Sudanese musician and former child soldier as well.
Again, I can’t make an argument for why this film shouldn’t exist (and I’m not suggesting that it shouldn’t) – after all, it’s based on real-life stories. But I can encourage Hollywood to embrace other stories about Africans (whether in Africa or in America – and there is an abundance of stories) beyond those tiny few extremes (war, poverty, famine, disease, corruption, or as simpletons) that sadly reflect views that are likely held by much of America.
Let’s recall author Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Ted Talk titled "The Danger of a Single Story," which we’ve shared on this blog many times.
"The Good Lie" is produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Karen Kehela Sherwood, along with Black Label Media.
By the way, the Idris Elba/Taraji P. Henson thriller, "No Good Deed," has managed to eek out over $50 million at the box office, despite lackluster reviews. It’s certainly earned its $13.2 million budget back, and just might wrestle its way to close to $60 million, which won’t at all be bad, again, given its budget. Another *win* for producer Will Packer, who’s certainly been on something of a roll lately, with recent hits like "Think Like A Man," its unnecessary and poor sequel, "Ride Along," and more.
This week’s top 10 box office wins below:
|5||The Maze Runner||$12,000,000||$73,921,000|
|6||Left Behind (2014)||$6,850,000||$6,850,000|
|7||This is Where I Leave You||$4,000,000||$29,003,000|
|8||Dolphin Tale 2||$3,530,000||$37,974,000|
|9||Guardians of the Galaxy||$3,034,000||$323,360,000|
|10||No Good Deed (2014)||$2,500,000||$50,157,000|