Red Tails…and the fate of the black film community

After years of trying to get Red Tails, his movie about the Tuskegee Airmen made, George Lucas plunked down his own money for the project. It will be in theaters Jan 20th.

To learn more about the movie and Lucas’ struggles to bring it to the big screen, check out this article from USA Today: George Lucas’ ‘Red Tails’ salutes Tuskegee Airmen

What’s weird, to me, is Lucas’ idea of how Red Tails might affect black filmmakers. The excerpt below comes from a sidebar where Lucas’ talks about filmmaking.

“I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk (with Red Tails, whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions). I’m saying, if this doesn’t work, there’s a good chance you’ll stay where you are for quite a while. It’ll be harder for you guys to break out of that (lower-budget) mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let’s make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there.”

I think Lucas has it partially right. If Red Tails fails at the box office, film executives will point to it as a reason not to greenlight other big budget dramatic/action-adventure movies featuring an all black cast (without Will Smith). However, if Red Tails is successful, I don’t think it will really open the door for the black film community. It would open the door for Lucas’ to do a big budget sequel.

But what do I know? Maybe there’s a black filmmaker prayer circle devoted to lifting up Red Tails to the almighty.

I’m not even going to touch that part about more Tyler Perrys…

Published by Tawanna

Sometimes writer, most times editor. Lover of mysteries and 70s/80s horror movies. Author of The Next Girl (short story collection) and The Closet Case (mystery).

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