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?