Quentin Tarantino’s Western epic Django Unchained opened to impressive box-office numbers despite what many called a controversial abuse of the n-word. The repeated use of the contentious word threatened to derail the slave redemption/love story, as respected African-American director Spike Lee called for a full-scale boycott of Tarantino’s passion project, claiming the film was disrespectful to his ancestors (he expressed his sentiment although he has yet to view the film).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Django Unchained, which stars Oscar award-winning actor Jamie Fox, grossed impressive numbers across demographics, but especially strong with African-American audiences, with over 42 percent of tickets sold in the first week went to African-Americans.
“Django is playing well to African-Americans and to audiences across the board. You can’t have these kind of numbers otherwise. It’s getting everybody,” The Weinstein Co. president of distribution Erik Lomis said.
And those numbers have translated into what may turn out to be Quentin Taratino’s biggest movie ever, in terms of sales.
Django has grossed $77.8 million so far in North America and has a strong shot at becoming Tarantino’s most successful film at the domestic box office, eclipsing the $120 million earned by Inglourious Basterds in 2009. Sony is TWC’s partner on Django and will handle the movie internationally.
It looks as if black audiences have embraced Tarantino’s masterful storytelling ability, and looked past the word that too many, black and white, take out context.