Days before it opens on Juneteenth weekend, Tim Story’s “The Blackening” will premiere at one of the most important Black cultural hubs in American history: The Apollo.
Lionsgate and MRC have announced that the film will bow at the Tribeca Festival on June 13 as part of the festival’s Expressions of Black Freedom program. The special screening will be held at the iconic Harlem music venue, which has hosted legendary performers ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to James Brown.
“Of course, we want ‘The Blackening’ to be enjoyed by everyone – but it’s especially a celebration of and a theatrical event for Black culture,” director Tim Story said in a statement. “This film really shows that Black people are not a monolith – there are so many different things that define us, but also bring us together. That’s why it’s so deeply meaningful that we are premiering at the legendary Apollo. For more than a century, this theater has been the epicenter that originated so much Black entertainment before it sent its shockwaves out to the world. As we lead up to the release of our film on Juneteenth Weekend, it’s a unique pleasure to be celebrating our U.S. premiere in this historic place.”
Adapted from a 2018 short film by comedy troupe 3Peat, “The Blackening” tells the story of a group of Black friends whose Juneteenth vacation is ruined when they find themselves trapped in a cabin with a killer. The horror comedy made its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, where Lionsgate acquired it from MRC. (IndieWire’s parent company, Penske Media Corporation, has partnered with MRC to operate brands such as The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.) Early reviews have been strong, with many critics praising the film’s refusal to water down the bold comedic voice of the short film that inspired it.
“’The Blackening’ is the first great horror parody of the post-‘Get Out’ era. The scares may be underserved, but the laughs and Blackness commentary make this a thrilling rollercoaster of a film,” Rafael Motamayor wrote in his IndieWire review of the film. “The film jokes about Black suffering, but this is far from trauma porn. It’s a truly Black horror comedy.”
Tribeca Festival runs June 7 through 18 in New York.
“The Blackening” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 16.