Don’t attack your audience.
I could stop there but I’m not paid to write single sentences. Instead, I’m going to give you some good examples of how Hollywood goofed and, as a result, their creations suffered.
Let’s start with a very recent example in Viola Davis and her latest movie “The Woman King.”
While the film did rake in $19 billion box office on its opening weekend, the movie is getting slammed relentlessly. If you were to believe its defenders, the only reason people are angry at it is that it’s a movie led by a black woman about black warrior women who are defending Africa against oppressors and that its detractors are just racist, sexists.
Upon closer inspection, you’d see that a lot of the backlash is primarily coming from the black community because the movie glorifies and lies about the African tribe it centers on. The “Dahomey” kingdom was known as being one that would raid tribes of fellow Africans, brutally torture and kill those who weren’t useful, and sell everyone else into slavery.
I thought we were all in agreement that the African slave trade was bad, but apparently Hollywood is perfectly cool with it if you had black warrior women in your armies. Not only are they cool with it, but they’ll also actively whitewash you in their Hollywood reproduction and make you seem like you were the freedom-loving good guys.
Needless to say, many in the black community didn’t take well to this, and the backlash is underway, especially on Twitter where the hashtag #BoycottWomanKing is popular.
Lead actress Viola Davis made not seeing the movie a racial issue when she told Etalk that if you don’t come to see it that you’d be supporting the narrative that black women “cannot lead the box office globally.”
She then doubled down on this in a tweet, warning that if her movie doesn’t actually get butts in seats then “you’re not going to see…Black female leading a movie AGAIN.”
Like I said at @TIFF_NET, if you don’t plop down money on opening weekend, you’re not going to see…Black females leading a movie AGAIN. Please continue supporting #TheWomanKing , NOW PLAYING exclusively in theaters. 🗣 Agojie 👑❤🙏🏿 https://t.co/bnYTq7FLcy pic.twitter.com/lHOBBxPAwW
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 18, 2022
So if I don’t see this, I’m supporting a racist narrative? Is she actually putting the onus of the movie’s success on America proving that it’s not prejudiced against black people? Black women, in particular?
Like me, I’m sure you don’t like the idea of having your virtue tested by some coastal celebrity based on how much money you give her project. While the movie did well in its opening weekend, we’ll see how much it gains. If it’s like other properties that contained messaging, they’ll have a decent opening but then immediately begin seeing a steep decline.
If that happens then Davis has already set the messaging for why it failed. America is just a racist place. Oh, and sexist to boot. What Davis said was effectively the draw of the bow to fire the arrow when the target becomes available.
It’s a developing pattern in Hollywood. The same exact thing happened with Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, only Disney decided to launch that narrative even before the show came out.
As a reminder, Disney had Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor, tell everyone that there was unmitigated racism flying toward his black co-star Moises Ingraham and that he condemned it wholeheartedly. This was accompanied by loaded interviews asking Ingraham how she’s dealing with the racism.
To be clear, they only managed to produce a handful of actual examples.
The exact same thing was done with people accusing Lord of the Rings fans of racism for their backlash when Amazon made it clear that diversity and inclusion were more of a priority than actual storytelling and staying true to J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision. Yours truly got caught up in a controversy for expressing that very opinion, which I go into during an episode of RedState LIVE!
All of this amounts to revealing that Hollywood doesn’t think very highly of its fans and they express that sentiment in various ways. Sometimes it’s by cast and crew, sometimes it’s in the writing of the show itself, but it’s always going to paint the people creating the work as the enemy of the people meant to view it.
Why would a hated consumer want to give anything to hating producer?
Food for thought.