Musical movies have, with increasing frequency, begun to release around either Thanksgiving or the Winter Holiday frame over the past decade (see: Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables), perhaps in part because the films that belong to that genre tend to also be ones with cross-over appeal – and thus, bring in a greater variety of moviegoers (in terms of age and background), as they offer something different for each member of the family to appreciate when you’re all spending time together.
The upcoming Black Nativity – arriving near the end of November (case in point) – comes equipped with a family-friendly PG Rating and good old-fashioned lessons about forgiveness and spiritual healing at Christmas time (i.e. things that make it ideal for viewing with relatives, young and old). However, it remains to be seen how large the turnout will be for this particular musical, since movies which feature a primarily black cast (like Black Nativity) still tend to be under-seen by the larger moviegoing public (as a general rule, anyway).
Black Nativity stars R&B recording artist/actor Jacob Latimore (Maze Runner) as Langston, a teen from Baltimore who is sent to New York by his struggling single mother (Jennifer Hudson) to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) – both being far more religious than Langston. Is there a chance that Langston and his elders can help to mend the shattered bonds of their family, by learning to appreciate each other’s personal worth? (Spoiler: yup.)
Black Nativity writer/director Kasi Lemmons – who adapted cultural icon Langston Hughes’ stage musical for the film adaptation – is generally regarded as being an under-rated filmmaker, despite well-respected titles like Eve’s Bayou and Talk to Me under her belt (in addition to the more divisive Caveman’s Valentine, featuring one of SLJ’s best hairstyles) – none of which were huge box office success stories, mind you.
As such, it shouldn’t be difficult for Black Nativity to become Lemmons’ highest-grossing release to date (given the cast involved and built-in musical appeal). But, will the film – especially should it be well-received critically – join the list of 21st-century musicals that’ve found a mainstream audience? Probably not, sadly, but it ought to have no trouble keeping the musical end-of-year tradition alive, before we get two big crowd-pleasing additions in 2014: the new screen version of Annie (featuring a mostly black cast) and Disney’s take on Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale mashup romp, Into the Woods.
Black Nativity opens in theaters on November 27th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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