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By Lynn Elber
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Taye Diggs says Hollywood studios hold African-American films to a frustratingly separate and unfair standard.
Whether a studio decides to proceed with a black-oriented film can depend on the success of other movies with primarily African-American casts, even if the projects are unconnected, said Diggs, who starred in “The Best Man” romantic comedy and its sequel.
In a recent interview, the actor said he and others who worked on the Best Man movies are eager to start on a third. But its fate is tied to how other black-oriented films, including the upcoming Think Like a Man Too, perform at the box office, he said.
"Unfortunately, the business is such that as far as studios are concerned, they judge one quote-unquote black movie on how other ‘black’ movies have done, even if they have nothing to do with each other," he said.
That’s “ridiculously” frustrating, said Diggs, 43, whose movie credits include How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Rent. He stars in a new TNT drama, Murder in the First.
"We’ve definitely come a long way. But we’ve got a long way to go," he said. "It’s too bad we can’t do well on our own merit when it comes to the studios. They don’t like to take risks and, unfortunately, we’re still considered a huge risk, even though I don’t think we are."
The Best Man Holiday grossed more than $70 million in North America last year and was profitable, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak.
Universal Studios, which released 1999’s The Best Man and its sequel that included stars Diggs, Morris Chestnut and Sanaa Lathan, declined comment.