Why Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ flopped at the box office

This writer was engaged in a very spirited discussion with a Black female about why she absolutely refused to go see Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation under any circumstances. This particular woman found Parker’s account of the alleged rape at Penn State distasteful, his apology insufficient and generally doesn’t believe that he and his co-writer are innocent despite being exonerated in a court of law (Jean Celestin was originally convicted before the decision was overturned).
This episode probably crystallizes what much of America feels about Parker and his critically-acclaimed movie, which fetched the most money at the Sundance Film Festival in its history.
According to Marketwatch, the rape allegation – and the fact that the woman committed suicide several years ago – destroyed any possibility of this film turning out a viable profilt:
Ten months later, it opened to an estimated $7.1 million in sixth place with its awards prospects severely hampered, even though it opened in more than 2,100 locations, an unusually wide rollout for a low-budget film.
The box-office performance of “The Birth of a Nation” caps a monthslong problem for its studio, Fox Searchlight, the specialty label of Twentieth Century Fox.
What do you think contributed to Birth of a Nation’s extremely poor showing at the box office despite wide distribution and being critically-acclaimed?


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