While other Disney films are getting disclaimers, cultural critics explain why the controversial Oscar-winning Uncle Remus movie should remain locked in the vault.
After 60 percent fall at the box office in its second weekend, a sharp decline for a film expected to play throughout awards season, the question now is how deep a loss Fox Searchlight will take on the film that won raves at Sundance
Nate Parker, director, co-writer, and star of Birth of a Nation, sees the film as a way to provoke more dialogue about race: “I want there to be a conversation."
Sit-in outside Arclight Hollywood Cinemas to raise awareness for victims of rape and sexual assault (Photo: Valentina Valentini/Instagram)
‘The Birth of a Nation’ (Photo: Sundance Film Festival) By Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter Director and actor Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation will open in roughly 2,100 theaters this weekend at the North American box office in an ambitious bid to win over art house audiences and mainstream moviegoers alike. Conservative estimates show the slave-rebellion drama opening in the $7 million-$8 million range, although some tracking services have it approaching $10 million. Comparisons are difficult since films such as 12 Years a Slave didn’t open nationwide at first; Birth of a Nation’s per-screen average will be one metric. Initially, Fox Searchlight intended to open the pic in 1,500 to 1,800 locations, but it has expanded those plans, thanks to theater owners who haven’t been scared off by the controversy surrounding Parker over his involvement in a 1999 rape case.
Writer-director-star of the Sundance sensation has been at the center of controversy since a series of interviews called attention to rape charges he faced years ago
The Birth of a Nation was the breakout debut of January’s Sundance Film Festival. Nate Parker’s critically acclaimed drama about slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was acquired by Fox Searchlight for a record-breaking $17.5 million and pegged as an early Oscar favorite. At this month’s Toronto International Film Festival, where Birth screened to two standing ovations, Yahoo Movies asked Parker and the cast what their message would be to those who’ve said they won’t see the film in light of recent revelations.
The Oscars are still five months away, but consider awards season under way now that Hollywood has returned home from film festivals in Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. (So yes, that means awards season pretty much runs for half a calendar year.)
Director/star deflects questions on 1999 rape accusations, as he and cast promote film at festival as scheduled
In response to concerns about the subject of the film, the school will instead hold a discussion and will screen the Nat Turner biopic later in the year.
Nate Parker is plunging ahead with plans to be the public face of The Birth of a Nation despite the furor surrounding rape accusations that were made against the actor, writer, and director when he was a student at Penn State University. Parker and Fox Searchlight, the boutique label behind the film, have no plans to hide the filmmaker from the press. Although there has been speculation that the controversy surrounding news of the 2001 rape trial would imperil The Birth of a Nation’s Oscar chances, Fox Searchlight management considers that a secondary concern, sources say.
The Birth of a Nation, one of the most talked-about films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, won’t land in theaters until this fall. But the release of the first trailer for the movie (watch above) demonstrates that Fox Searchlight, which bought the worldwide rights to the film for a record-setting $17.5 million, is serious about trying to build on its buzz.
Sundance breakout Birth of a Nation, Ang Lee’s first film since winning best director and an adaptation of best seller Girl on a Train might take center stage this time next year. Here’s a quick rundown of the prospective contenders for 2017 Oscars.
Nate Parker was pumped. The writer-director-actor had just finished the Q&A for the final Sundance Film Festival screening of his breakout debut feature The Birth of a Nation, but he wasn’t nearly ready to stop talking about the movie that had taken the festival by storm. Parker wrote, directed and stars in the biopic of Nat Turner, a preacher and slave who, in 1831, led a famed slave rebellion in Virginia.
Nate Parker in ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (Sundance Film Institute) Consider this an official declaration: The Birth of a Nation is the first major contender for the 2017 Oscars. Nate Parker’s period drama, about the black preacher who led a bloody insurrection against Virginia slave owners in 1831, was adoringly received at its Monday afternoon Sundance screening, drawing several standing ovations at the cavernous Eccles Theatre. Parker, who starred in 2014’s cult hit romance Beyond the Lights and the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters, not only wrote and directed The Birth of a Nation, but also plays its central character. The Birth of a Nation makes no bones about the unthinkable evils of slavery.