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Thanks to people like Spike Lee and Katt Williams, the new Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained has been at the center of a bit of controversy. Both the director and the comedian have slammed the movie for being racist against black people due to its repeated use of the "N-word" and the fact that it's made by a white filmmaker. But as vocal as Lee and Williams have been, apparently it's had very little effect.
THR has gotten a hold of some demographic statistics that show that not only is Django Unchained doing well at the box office overall, but that black audiences' support is a big factor. According to their numbers, on Christmas Day - when the film first came to theaters - 42% of audiences were black, and The Weinstein Company is saying that the number has held at about 30% in the time since. In its first eight days the movie has already made $77.8 million domestically and looks like it could become Tarantino's most successful title, beating the $120 million record set in 2009 with Inglourious Basterds. It has not yet been released overseas.
"Django is playing well to African-Americans and to audiences across the board," TWC president of distribution Erik Lomis said. "You can't have these kind of numbers otherwise. It's getting everybody." The trade also mentions that prior to the film's release the studio actually set up two test screenings in New York, one with an all African-American audience and another with a mixed crowd, and both screenings earned almost the exact same scores.
While I understand that the "N-word" is a hot button, outside of that I really don't understand how people could think that Django Unchained is racist (for more on this, check out our own Kristy Puchko's recent take on the controversy). It's a film in whch a former slave takes brutal and bloody revenge against the awful plantation owners of the South. If anything, it's wish-fulfillment and empowerment. In Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz's character compares the Jewish people to rats, but you didn't see the Jewish Defense League getting all up in arms, and, in fact, the movie was celebrated in Israel (and, in case you were wondering, Tarantino isn't Jewish). This is an issue - or non-issue, I should say - that needs to be dropped.