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Black Cinema Out Paces Independents, NYU Study Reveals Room To Grow

Black Cinema Out Paces Independents, NYU Study Reveals Room To Grow

by Aaron Krach

“Black and Urban” films account for over $200 million, (3.5-5%) of the
annual domestic box office based on only 13-16 releases per year compared to
“Independent Film” which accounts for $225 million, (4-6%) of the box
office with over 30-35 films per year; according to a study from NYU School
of Law. The 80 page NYU Black Film Report is the first study of it’s
kind to “critically examine the position of African-Americans in film
from a business standpoint.”

Soundtracks for 10 of the 26 Black and Urban films released in 1995 and
1996 went gold or better. The study estimates that Black consumers spend
almost $2 billion on entertainment and leisure each year, $300 billion
on all goods and services. In these findings, the study sees lucrative
opportunities for cross-promotion. The study, coordinated by Yaphet
Smith, a student at the NYU School of Law, makes several other
recommendations including: the development of a Black Film Trade
Association, long-term focus on creating institutions to nurture talent,
Market Definition, investing through the Community Reinvestment Act and
Branding and Foreign Outreach.

“Filmmakers and professionals have shown remarkable dedication and
resourcefulness in bringing films to life. In light of those efforts and
continued debates about the position of African-American in film, we
felt it was time for a methodical, intensive examination of ways in
which Black people can achieve a sustained, rewarding presence in the
film industry,” said Smith.

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