‘Couples Retreat’ Advertising: Now You See POC, Now You Don’t

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


Let’s play a little game of Photoshop sleight-of-hand. See the poster up there for Couples’ Retreat? Now look below:


Presto! Somewhere over the Pond, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk disappeared from the poster, as the 2nd version was the one used to promote the film in the U.K. As reported on Yahoo, a spokesman for the film’s distributor, Universal, said the move was made “to simplify the poster to actors who are most [recognizable] in international markets.”

But two years ago, in a New York Times article, BET head Reginald Hudlin had a different theory:

“I always call international the new South … In the old days, they told you black films don’t travel down South. Now they say it’s not going to travel overseas.”

Both the Times and Entertainment Weekly cited, among other films, Dreamgirls as an example of the “doesn’t travel well” theory, noting the discrepancy between its’ showings in the international and U.S. box-offices; only 38 percent of its’ total business came from markets abroad. But that was a marked success compared to, say, Hustle & Flow, which only got 6 percent of its’ business outside of the States.

While reading the EW article, here’s one theory a reader posted regarding this trend:

I believe that as Black Actors make more movies that don’t SEEM to be made for African-American Audiences. they’ll do better abroad. As much as I like Eddie Murphy, his movies from Norbit to The Nutty Professor are more, how can I say it, aimed at what he thinks Black audiences will enjoy. And they don’t have international appeal.

So here’s some questions, readers: Is more critically-acclaimed fare like Hustle & Flow and Dreamgirls getting dragged down by the Norbits of the world? Is this a response/push-back against the American film industry relegating more diverse stories to the art houses and film festival circuit? What are your thoughts?

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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