Red Tails Rakes In $19.1 Million Over The Weekend, Fox Exec Says ‘George Lucas Was Right’

Last week, George Lucas announced he was retiring from blockbuster films but he may want to rethink his decision seeing as though ‘Red Tails’ pulled in a hefty $19.1 million at the box office its opening weekend, The action movie based on the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, snagged the #2 spot behind ‘Underworld 4′, after George Lucas was very vocal about the various struggles of getting support and financing in Hollywood for the film. According to Lucas, even though he’s had success with films like Star Wars and Indian Jones, he had a hard time convincing Hollywood that their was a market for the film that features a majority black cast. After repeatedly being snubbed despite his track record, he finally decided to invest $60 million of his own money to get the film made and released.

The prequel and the sequel are already in the works, and Lucas had already said the only way that those will get off the ground would be if ‘Red Tails’ could have a $20 million opening weekend. The movie was just shy of what he hoped for, but better than the flop that most people expected, so he is now hoping to snag Spike Lee as the director of the prequel and possibly Lee Daniels for the sequel.

“If we can get over $20 million in our first weekend, we’re kind of in the game. We’re in The Helpcategory. If it gets $30 (million) in the first weekend,” he continued, “then those guys [Spike Lee, Lee Daniels etc] get to make their movies without even thinking about it.”

After all the grief that Lucas went through to get this movie made, FOX, who marketed ‘Red Tails’ in America but outright refused to invest any cash into the film, now admits that Lucas taking a gamble on his “passion project” that no one else wanted to touch was the right thing to do.

“I couldn’t tell you how right he was,” Fox’s Chris Aronson said. “…This is why he’s George Lucas. He was right.”

Sidenote: According to reports, George Lucas decision to retire was provoked by the many complaints he received from Star War fans who were disappointed in the prequels as well as studio execs who wouldn’t even show up to the ‘Redtail’ screenings. He was quoted as telling the New York Times:

Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are? “I’m retiring. I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.

Another interesting tidbit: Aaron McGruder, creator of the Boondocks, assisted in writing the script.

Did you see Redtails this weekend? What were your thoughts?

Source

‘Red Tails’ Flying High at the Box Office

So far “Red Tails” is proving the naysayers wrong and is doing very well at the box office.

No, it most likely won’t end up being the number one film opening this weekend, but it’s far from bombing (no pun intended).

Here’s what Deadline is reporting as of 11pm (Pacific) Friday night:

Hollywood studios were stunned by how well the No. 2 film, George Lucas banner film Red Tails, did in matinees today. Until they discovered that the Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox movie’s marketing inside the African-American community resulted in busloads of schoolkids and midday filmgoers for the Tuskegee airmen’s story. Right now the pic appears very frontloaded but could keep surprising by flying towards $20M because of its ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences.

Here are the Top 5 estimated grosses:

1. Underworld Awakening (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,078 Theaters]
Estimated Friday $9.8M, Estimated Weekend $23.4M

2. Red Tails (LucasFilm/Fox) NEW [2,512 Theaters]
Estimated Friday $6.2M, Estimated Weekend $17M

3. Contraband (Universal) Week 2 [2,870 Theaters]
Estimated Friday $3.7M, Estimated Weekend $12.5M, Estimated Cume $46.2M

4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,630 Theaters]
Estimated Friday $3.2M, Estimated Weekend $9.5M, Estimated Cume $10M

5. Haywire (Relativity) NEW [2,439 Theaters]
Estimated Friday $3M, Estimated Weekend $8.6M

Read the full report at Deadline.com.