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How Will Red Tails Fare This Weekend?

Submitted by on January 18, 2012 – 9:27 amOne Comment
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George Lucas‘ passion project film on the Tuskegee Airmen entitled Red Tails will be released nationwide on January 20th. The film documents the exploits of a group of African-American pilots who fought against the Germans in World War II for a country that still looked at them as less than full men. It will compete against Haywire, starring MMA femme fatale Gina Carano, and Underworld: Awakening starring Kate Beckinsale.

With Lucas behind the project — and his recent announcement that he will be retiring after the film releases — one has to wonder how well it will fare with non-African American audiences. Considering that Lucas had to invest $100 million of his own money to get the film made because Hollywood wouldn’t, it’s amazing that the film was made in the first place. Lucas has been vocal about his struggles to make the film because there were no major white characters in the film and Lucas refused to cast one just for the sake of acquiring a Hollywood budget. The producer wanted to keep the integrity of the Tuskegee Airmen without diluting the premise of the film with a created white character.

That, in itself, explains the potential struggles this film may have once it releases this weekend.

Lucas put a reported $58 million into production and another $35 million towards distribution. Aside from that, his cast features heavyweights including Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Ne-Yo. Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder co-wrote the screenplay with John Ridley. It would be a shame to see this film fail at the box office. With the buying power of African Americans who consistently keep Tyler Perry in business, there should hopefully be a solid showing this weekend for the film. No, there’s no Madea or comedic angle anchoring the movie. Red Tails is more important than a joke and a man in a dress (no slight to Perry, but it’s true).

With Lucas’ well documented struggles to get the film made, we owe it to him and this excellent cast of characters to see the film. You might actually learn something along the way.

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