Nate Parker's "The Birth of a Nation" was not so fortunate during its opening weekend, premiering to a disappointing $7.1 million across 2,105 theaters. The release was derailed after rape allegations against Parker and his "The Birth of a Nation" co-writer Jean Celestin resurfaced. Both men were accused of assaulting a college classmate over a decade ago. Although they were ultimately acquitted of those charges, news broke this summer that their accuser had committed suicide in 2012. The ensuing controversy overshadowed the strong reviews and may have hurt the film's Oscar chances.
Clearly, not all press is good press.Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations
The biopic about slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was a sensation at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered to a rapturous standing ovation and sold to Fox Searchlight for a record-shattering $17.5 million.
The film stands on its own. ... What it was before at Sundance, the actual celluloid, the image, is still the same, but the perception may have changed and there's not too much anyone can do about it.Fox Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez