I wrote about Birth of a Nation writer and director Nate Parker a couple weeks back. In case you missed it, he’s been getting ripped to shreds by his own side over past allegations of rape against a fellow student woman while the two of them were in college (Penn State). He beat the rap, his alleged partner in crime originally didn’t, but even he had his conviction overturned on a technicality eventually. The facts of the case are quite disturbing, but you guys know me. I don’t get down with this “you need to apologize” bullshit once someone walks free from a courtroom.
There’s something else I don’t get down with, though, and it’s basing the ad campaign for a movie around racial conflict and hatred. I was in northern Virginia last week halfway watching a football game in my hotel room when this came on:
I don’t know what else you could label this other than a call for violent revolution in our city streets. To say this is over the line would be a vast understatement. It’s despicable and it could get someone killed. Luckily, the movie totally fucking bombed this past weekend, so we probably won’t have to see these ads for much longer. Hell, they’re probably gone even now.
“The Birth of a Nation” flopped at the box office this weekend, cementing its place among the steepest falls from grace in recent Hollywood history.
The biopic about slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was thought to have the makings of a commercial and critical hit when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Ten months later, it opened to an estimated $7.1 million in sixth place with its awards prospects severely hampered, even though it opened in more than 2,100 locations, an unusually wide rollout for a low-budget film.
Did I mention Fox Searchlight paid $17.5 million for this film, then sunk another $10-30 million in advertising? What a disaster. It was completely deserved after a campaign like this.