Film / TVRace

‘sorry to bother you’ rejected by international distributors as ‘just’ a “black movie”

August 7, 2018
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You know, it’s almost refreshing being reminded that anti-blackness is a global phenomenon, especially when it comes to movie distribution. The age-old racist myth that “Black movies don’t sell overseas” has reared its ugly head once again after being debunked on numerous occasions. But alas, racism chugs on.

Boots Riley’s surrealist masterclass ‘Sorry To Bother You’ is the latest victim of the racist myth and the musician/auteur’s directorial debut has been classed by international distributors as “just another Black movie”. The film has been praised by critics and audiences alike, grossing $14 million according to Billboard, with a limited release of roughly 1040 theaters nationwide. Black films have struggled in international theaters but the tide has changed. “Disney and Marvel’s blockbuster superhero pic Black Panther grossed $647 million overseas, while Hidden Figures and Straight Outta Compton also did solid business overseas.”

Riley took to Twitter armed with simple facts, stating that movies that did worse than ‘Sorry To Bother You’ had no problems getting international distribution. Riley is also backed up by the international success of specialty film and Oscar winner ‘Moonlight’, “which, buoyed in part by its Oscar win, grossed $37 million overseas, or more than half of its total gross.” Even then, a movie shouldn’t need to show Oscar promise to receive an international audience because such films are a fraction of yearly releases. That being said, discussions around ‘Sorry To Bother You’ have included talk of it being an awards season contender.

Riley isn’t backing down and neither should we so if you haven’t seen ‘Sorry To Bother You’ get on that ASAP and if you have seen it, go again!