Despite the fact that "Django Unchained" uses the N-word over 100 times throughout the two hour and 45-minute-long movie, African Americans turned out in force to see the controversial Quentin Tarantino-directed film featuring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the pre-Civil War South.
"Opening on Christmas Day, 42 percent of the film's initial audience was black," according to exit polling data as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "The Weinstein Company estimated that the percentage now is holding steady at about 30 percent."
But the film has crossed over since opening day, drawing viewers of all races to contribute to its successful $77.8 million take at the domestic box office thus far.
"A look at the top-performing theaters for 'Django' further confirms that it has crossed over, playing to both white and black moviegoers," according to THR, with The Weinstein Company's president of distribution confirming, "'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."
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
Of the film's top 10-grossing theaters, three cater heavily to African-Americans: The Cinemark Egyptian 24 in Baltimore, the AMC Hoffman Center in Alexandria, Va., and the AMC Southlake 24 in Atlanta. And another three draw a mixed audience, including the AMC Empire 25 in New York City and the Regal Atlantic Stadium 16 in Atlanta ...
When testing 'Django,' TWC held two simultaneous screenings in New York. One audience was made up of African-Americans, while the other was a mixed audience (about 15 percent was African-American). The film received top, identical scores from the two audiences.
But not all are happy with Tarantino's spaghetti western — just as the director received backlash from his Oscar-winning 2009 film "Inglorious Basterds," which sanctified violence against Nazis.
African American filmmaker Spike Lee called for a boycott of "Django Unchained," saying the film was insulting — even though he refuses to see it.
"American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them," Lee wrote on Twitter.
"All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film,"the filmmaker elaborated to VibeTV. "That's the only thing I'm gonna say. I can't disrespect my ancestors. I can't do it. Now, that's me. I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody but myself. I can't do it."
But this isn't the first time Tarantino has been publicly bashed by Lee.
Following Tarantino's 1997 film "Jackie Brown" starring Samuel L. Jackson and paying homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s, Lee took issue with the white director's liberal use of the n-word.
"I'm not against the word. And some people speak that way. But Quentin is infatuated with that word," the "Do The Right Thing"director said of Tarantino in an interview with Variety.
"What does he want to be made, an honorary black man?" Lee went on to ask. "I want Quentin to know that all African-Americans do not think that word is trendy or slick."
Tarantino, for his part, says he won't be influenced by what he calls social criticism, telling THR in a December interview, "I believe in what I'm doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It's my job to ignore that."
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