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Nia DaCosta's ‘Candyman’ grossed $22.3M in its opening weekend. It's the first #1 film directed by a Black woman.

DaCosta, whose debut feature 'Little Woods' earned a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, has stunned audiences and critics alike once again.

Nia DaCosta's ‘Candyman’ grossed $22.3M in its opening weekend. It's the first #1 film directed by a Black woman.
Image Source: Los Angeles Pink Carpet Premiere Of "Little Woods" Hosted By Refinery29, NEON And Rooftop Cinema Club At NeueHouse Hollywood. LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 01. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images)

Candyman, a 2021 supernatural slasher film reboot directed by Nia DaCosta, was estimated to earn about $15 million in its initial domestic weekend. Raking in a whopping $22,370,00, however, it successfully beat the lowball projection by almost 50 percent. Currently, the profits of the worldwide top-grossing film of 2021 stands at $716 million, with less than 25 percent domestic. Of course, this is perhaps testament to the enduring appeal of the original 1992 film, but there is no doubt that DaCosta's skillful filmmaking has played a significant role. As a result of the stellar debut, she has become the first Black female director to debut a movie in the No. 1 weekend spot at the domestic box office, Deadline reports.


Notably, Candyman marks the second-highest-grossing three-day domestic weekend box office opening for a Black female director. The record was previously held by Ava DuVernay and her Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time, which debuted with $33.1 million over the weekend of March 9-11, 2018. The movie was behind the fourth weekend of Black Panther, which slotted No. 1 with $40.8 million. At the time, DuVernay was the first Black female director to be in charge of a production with a budget of over $100 million from a major Hollywood studio.


DaCosta, who co-wrote Candyman with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, as a result takes second place in the top five openings for movies at the domestic box office helmed by Black women directors. Trailing behind A Wrinkle in Time and Candyman are Little ($15.4 million opening, directed by Tina Gordon); The Photograph ($12.1 million opening, directed by Stella Meghie); and Queen & Slim ($11.89 million opening, directed by Melina Matsoukas). The latter three releases, including Candyman, were all produced by Universal Pictures. The movie's popularity comes as no surprise: DaCosta’s debut feature Little Woods earned a 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes following its premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and theatrical release by Neon in 2019.


Like Little Woods, Candyman has impressed audiences and critics alike. The "spiritual sequel," as Peele described it, takes things to a new level. Kristian Fanene Schmidt, writing for Rotten Tomatoes, states, "While the original Candyman acknowledged the racial violence America was built upon... There’s a shift in narrative that examines that brutal history in far greater depth and names the many ways it continues to exist and impact the Black community to this day." Based on a story by the English playwright and novelist Clive Barker, the film is named after a hook-handed killer who has spawned a fearsome urban legend. The reboot stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a visual artist who soon comes to regret basing an exhibit on the longstanding myth. Now, DaCosta is in production on the highly anticipated Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels. This makes her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studios picture.


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