History was made this past weekend in the box office as Nia DaCosta’s “Candyman” became the first No. 1 film directed by a Black woman.
According to IndieWire, the film grossed an estimated $22.3 million in its initial domestic weekend. The film’s earnings surpassed its projection of $15 million.
Variety reported that the film’s release was delayed numerous times due to the coronavirus pandemic. While “Candyman” was initially set to hit movie theaters last year, the decision to delay its release ultimately worked in the film’s utmost favor. Both old and new fans filled movie theaters across the nation and brought in a diverse audience.
“Universal believed it would attract Black viewers with the pedigree of Get Out and Us, and it did,” reported IndieWire. “However, the appeal was more diverse: Per the studio’s audience survey, 37 percent of the audience was Black, white was 30 percent, Latinos 22 percent, and Asians 5 percent. That spread was key to reaching the higher number.”
With the No. 1 spot, “Candyman” places DaCosta ahead of fellow Black women directors Ava DuVernay (“Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time”) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love and Basketball”) in box office history.
The film “Candyman” stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and is the sequel to the 1992 classic. During the inception of DaCosta’s reboot of the classic horror film, director Jordan Peele joined in 2018 as its producer under his company Monkeypaw Productions, as well as a co-writer alongside Win Rosenfeld.
The success of Peele’s critically acclaimed “Get Out” and “Us” has helped in breaking the industry’s glass ceiling for Black horror filmmakers and opened up doors for newcomers like DaCosta to come in and shake up the culture.
The 31-year-old’s 2018 debut crime thriller film “Little Woods” won the Tribeca Film Festival’s Nora Ephron Prize and was the stepping stone for reaching new heights. Now, years later, she’s continuing to make history.