Women warriors stand in line in a still from The Woman King.

Somehow, People Are Still ‘Surprised’ by ‘The Woman King’ Winning at the Box Office

The Viola Davis-led The Woman King—a fictionalized reimagining of events surrounding the Agojie, better known as the Dahomey Amazons—is currently leading at the box office. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, The Old Guard), the film has succeeded where films like The Last Duel haven’t, as noted by Yahoo Finance: “But the film did secure $19 million in ticket sales, beating analysts’ expectations by about 25%. And this was significant considering the fact that this movie wasn’t a sequel, wasn’t a prequel, it wasn’t a superhero Marvel film. This was a unique original war drama. And we haven’t seen a movie like that deliver this type of box office success in quite some time.”

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Despite the whingeing of fans who can’t stand the idea of Black people being in … well, anything, the reality is that Black people want to see some good representation of themselves, and this kind of success shouldn’t be a surprise. The Woman King is one of the few historical films that take place in Africa with African people (specifically West African, in what would be in present-day Benin). Of course there would be Black people, who are one of the biggest audiences in the country, interested in a history story where they are the protagonists.

Box Office Mojo also shares that “34% of its gross came from IMAX,” showing that people want to see this movie and see it on some of the biggest screens possible. With a budget of $50 million, it is very possible that this film will make its money back (and I plan on contributing my funds to this endeavor). More so, I would really love for people to understand that these kinds of films work.

It has been years since Crazy Rich Asians came out, and other than Marvel’s Shang-Chi, we have yet to see any major Hollywood studios back an Asian-led film of that magnitude since. Black Panther was a massive cultural reset, but people are still reluctant to be more creative with Black-led projects. They would rather cast one of us in a traditionally white role and then have built-in marketing based on outrage.

The Woman King is something people haven’t seen before, with one of the most important actresses working today leading the film. Of course it is doing well. I hope it makes more people check it out, especially since it has so much audience love. If you loved Top Gun, The Woman King is right up there in terms of audience enjoyment.

(via Yahoo Finance, featured image: Sony)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.