Home Internet Black Internet Gives 3 Reasons Why The Color Purple Flopped

Black Internet Gives 3 Reasons Why The Color Purple Flopped

Talk about a nosedive. After pulling in $18 million and landing in the top spot on its Christmas Day release—the largest Christmas Day opening in 14 years and second-biggest ever for that holiday, according to Variety—The Color Purple sank like Black folks in the swimming pool (don’t get salty; y’all know a lot of us can’t swim). The New York Times reported that it struggled to garner $5 million in ticket sales in its second weekend. Box Office Mojo ranks the movie in 16th place this week, with $59.3 million in sales, and little hope of recouping its $100 million price tag.

The record-breaking opening was likely buoyed by the strength of sistergroup viewings; Greeks, The Links, church women’s ministries and Black girl bookclubs flocked to see the remake of the Broadway musical in droves in December. This statement is 100 percent writer opinion, but everybody and nem got the message to gather their girls to support this incarnation or be shamed. A stellar cast, including Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks and Colman Domingo, with Oprah Winfrey on board as a producer, didn’t hurt.

Official reasons why the musical tanked, however, aren’t as clear, with some pointing to an imaginary feud between Henson and Winfrey (Business Insider reports both women deny these claims), Henson’s ill-timed “I can’t get paid” tour during the movie’s promotion and/or Winfrey’s alleged mistreatment of the stars while on set. A Media Take Out story says an insider from Warner Bros, the movie’s studio, points the finger at both Henson and Winfrey. “Executives blame Taraji Henson for derailing the promotional efforts of the film and using it as a selfish opportunity to change her personal narrative as an ‘aging and underpaid’ actress,” the insider said. “Oprah should have taken Taraji to the side when she noticed she was taking the promotional efforts in a ‘negative space.’”

Three Reasons Why Color Purple Flopped:

But Black social media, especially TikTok, says ain’t nobody (sorry, Chaka, I couldn’t resist) confused about the remake’s spiral. The fault lies with the studio for producing a movie we didn’t request.

1) We Didn’t Want A Remake:

“The reason why the Color Purple flopped is because nobody wanted a remake of The Color Purple. We don’t like trauma movies. There was no reason why The Color Purple needed a remake,” said TikToker kylalatrice98 in a post that has garnered more than 5,000 comments.

2) We Don’t Want Black Trauma:

TikToker jocatie voiced similar thoughts in her post: “I can’t support stories like that anymore. The Black trauma constantly being perpetuated by Hollywood is disgusting. …. the intense racism and dehumanization that was happening in the Reconstruction era—that is not my idea of a good Saturday night.”

“Number 1: White people didn’t care to see it. Number 2: Black people didn’t care to see it. And when everyone found out it was a musical, it really just didn’t do well,” said meetthebreedloves in his TikTok.

“I want to see Black people succeed. I want to see Black heroes,” said Tiktoker hanxafrica.

On an IG, anwangobongo1973 celebrated the movie’s tanking: “I’m glad The Color Purple flopped because all it did was depict our men as being monsters, uneducated, all this foolery.” The reel was cosigned by kwamzz, whose comment, “Agreed. I’m tired of all of these goddamn slavery movies. We have a richer history than just slavery,” received more than 200 likes.

“The Color Purple’s press run is proof that movie’s spirit in this climate is too toxic to celebrate. The film isn’t meant to be seen in the form of Fantasia singing while doing the Roger rabbit after getting slapped by Mister,” accxxv said in a Threads post.

On another Threads post, bewellsis_podcast said, “Although The Color Purple is a beautiful and significant piece of art, a lot of us are really tired of depictions of Black trauma and are eager for Black joy.”

3) We Didn’t Want A Musical:

In my Baptist church voice, amen and amen. I am so Team Black Joy. Full disclosure: I didn’t see this version of The Color Purple—for pretty much the reasons identified by social media over the last month. Was a musical portraying our anguish on our Bingo card this year? The answer—from the primary Color Purple audience—is a collective, exhausted and very loud nah.The remake cost $100 million to make; who’s to blame for its flame-out?

Kendra Lee is a writer based in D. C.



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