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‘Candyman’ the 1st movie directed by a Black woman to debut atop the box office

August 30, 2021   |  

Terry Shropshire

Terry Shropshire

“Candyman” director and co-writer Nia DaCosta (Image source: YouTube/Universal)

It may be hard to believe that it took until the middle of 2021 for a Black female director to claim the top spot at the box office in Hollywood history.


Nia DaCosta accomplished this feat when the remake of the horror classic Candyman took in $22 million at theaters during the weekend of Aug. 27 – 29, 2021.

That total amounts to nearly 50 percent over the projections by studios and critics. The DaCosta-directed film surpassed the totals of Free GuyPaw Patrol: The Movie, and Disney’s Jungle CruiseDon’t Breathe 2, and The Suicide Squad, according to Deadline


DaCosta also bested the achievement of director-producer Ava DuVernay and writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood, who both came in second place with A Wrinkle in Time in 2018 and Love & Basketball in 2000, respectively.

DuVernay still holds the record for the biggest opening weekend for Black female directors. According to Deadline, the top five openings for films at the domestic box office held by Black women directors are A Wrinkle in Time ($33.1M), Candyman ($22.4M), Little ($15.4M, directed by Tina Gordon), The Photograph ($12.1M, directed by Stella Meghie), and Queen & Slim ($11.89M, directed by Melina Matsoukas).

Candyman is the new millennial version of the cult classic that starred Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd as the iron-hooked killer.

The original film was an adaptation of noted horror filmmaker Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” which focused on the ghost of the murdered son of a slave who reemerges and goes on a vengeful rampage.

The 2021 iteration also saw DaCosta collaborate with a predominantly Black creative team. The remake was co-written by Jordan Peele of Get Out and Us fame, and the movie was produced by Monkeypaw.

DaCosta is making history again as she is currently filming the remake Captain Marvel, The Marvels. She will be the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studio movie which has a scheduled November 2022 release date. 

Flip the page to watch clips of Candyman, along with DaCosta discussing her role as director and co-writer with Peele.

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