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2015 in Black Film: At Least 38 Feature Films Were Released Theatrically – Here’s the Full List

2015 in Black Film: At Least 38 Feature Films Were Released Theatrically - Here's the Full List

It’s that time of the year when I start to collect data on “The Year in Black Cinema” broadly speaking, with about a week left until we usher in a new year of movies. Below you’ll find a list of all the “black films” that were released theatrically this year, 2015, in order of box office gross, from the highest grosser to the least (where available).

How do I define “black film”? As I’ve always done on this blog since its early days, I’m considering films whose central narratives revolve around the lives of people of African descent. The writer and/or director does not have to be of African descent. I’m most interested in the story that’s told, and what we see on the screen, not behind it. Some day, that might change, but if only for the sake of simplicity, this is the criteria on which the below list is based.

Some of them are debatable; for example, is Will Smith’s character’s story at the center of “Focus”? I say, yes. So I included “Focus” on the list. There are other buddy pairings like Kevin Hart in both “The Wedding Ringer” and “Get Hard,” but I’d argue that Hart, while a star of each, isn’t central to either of those movies. His characters in both films serve more as fulcrums for his white co-stars. For example, in “Get Hard,” Will Ferrell’s character is the base from which the story leaps: he’s been convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison, and enlists the help of Hart’s character to help toughen him up (hence the title of the movie) and get him ready for his stretch in San Quentin. So I didn’t include either “Get Hard” or “The Wedding Ringer” for this list.

Is “Secret in Their Eyes” Chiwetel Ejiofor’s film? Or is it more Julia Roberts’? Or is the wealth spread around? I didn’t include it on this list, however.

And there’s also “Lila & Eve” which I did include. While the title suggests a buddy flick, those who’ve seen it know that it isn’t quite what you initially think it is. But I can’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

But it’s all still very *uncertain*, this struggle in reaching some consensus on what a “black film” is or isn’t. I wish I didn’t have to make these distinctions; alas, this is the state of things. Although feel free to argue against my criteria. I’m not necessarily married to them. If we can collectively come up with a sensible definition of what “black film” is, I’m certainly in favor of that.

All that said, there might be one or two films that I missed during my research in coming up with this list – especially those *smaller* films that I may not at all be familiar with (this is why I continue to emphasize the need for black filmmakers to keep us informed on your various projects as you progress). But I feel quite confident that I got the overwhelming majority of them – if not all of them. If I did miss any, feel free to mention in the comment section – as long as it meets my above guidelines. 

I should also mention that “Concussion” is the only film still to be released this year that qualifies, in terms of upcoming “black film” releases during the month of December. Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” while featuring Samuel L. Jackson in a starring role, does not qualify.

Finally, there are likely a few films on this list you may have never even heard of, or heard of, but not seen; so use the list as a guide for what you still have to watch, going into 2016, as each becomes more widely-accessible via the various home video platforms.

Next to each title is the distribution company name followed by total domestic box office thus far (where available).

1 – “Home” Fox $177,397,510
2 – “Straight Outta Compton”Uni. $161,197,785
3 – “San Andreas” WB $155,190,832
4 – “Creed” WB $89,846,653
5 – “War Room” TriS $67,790,117
6 – “The Perfect Guy” SGem $57,017,904
7 – “Focus” WB $53,862,963 
8 – “Dope” ORF $17,506,470
9 – “Chi-Raq” Amazon/Roadside $2,431,364
10 – “Timbuktu” Cohen $1,076,075
11 – “Tangerine” Magn. $702,354
12 – “Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” PBS $516,893
13 – “Brotherly Love” Free $478,595
14 – “Freetown” Purd. $401,328
15 – “The Man in 3B” Free $291,366
16 – “Carter High” PN $240,214
17 – “Chocolate City” Free $212,662
18 – “Samba” BG $151,530
19 – “A Ballerina’s Tale” IFC $96,900
20 – “Beasts of No Nation” BST $90,777
21 – “Blackbird” Imag. $78,400
22 – “Girlhood” Strand $60,765
23 – “Difret” TA $49,667
24 – “Lila & Eve” Gold. $38,263
25 – “3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets” Part. $30,407
26 – “Rubble Kings” Sab. $7,416
27 – “Horse Money” CGld $6,508
28 – “Mediterranea” IFC $5,846
29 – “Black November” P4 $5,782
30 – “Salvation Army” Strand $3,929
31 – “blackhats” R1 $3,216
32 – “Sembene!” KL $10,945
33 – “Sneakerheadz” SD $1,903
34 – “Ayanda” ARRAY No box office numbers yet
35 – “Out of My Hand” ARRAY No box office numbers yet
36 – “Call Me King” GVN Releasing No box office numbers yet
37 – “My Friend Victoria” Zeitgeist No box office numbers yet
38 – “Five Star” XLrator No box office numbers yet
39 – “Concussion” Sony To be released 12/25/2015

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