'The Best Man Holiday's' success could ignite a new wave of African American movie sequels

'The Best Man Holiday's' success could ignite a new wave of African American movie sequels

On the cusp of a gigantic movie weekend for both Thor: The Dark World and The Best Man Holiday, box office ticket sales drew attention to the success of the over performed 'Best Man' sequel.

Thor: The Dark World finished up its second weekend with a domestic revenue of  $38.5 million. The Best Man Holiday, a surprising challenger to 'Thor', whose  2011 original grossed over $500 million worldwide,  came in a strong second earning a domestic revenue total of 30.6 million in its first weekend.

'Holiday' cost just $17 million to make and has exceeded its pre-released projections by $10 million, proving to its distributor - Universal Pictures,  that the African American silver screen experience can pay off big.

The Best Man Holiday

Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee, released the original African American romantic comedy The Best Man, in 1999 which featured Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa.

Fast forward 14 years, Lee reassembled the original cast to reprise their role,  but this time the friends gathered to reunite during the holidays.
If the profit margins on The Best Man Holiday is an indicator of renewed appeal and a booming African American movie audience,  the following list consist of a few other original movie gems that would make great sequels.

  • LOVE JONES, 1997

  • writer-director: Theodore Witcher

  • cast: Nia Long, Larenz Tate, Isiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Bill Bellamy
  • 
original story:    
  • Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Moseley, a beautiful and talented photographer. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing" or are just "kicking it," they hang out with their friends, talking about love and sex. Then Nina tests the strength of Darius' feelings and sets a chain of romantic complications into motion.
  • why a sequel?

    This romantic comedy was produced as a cool flick from the beginning, that introduced hip, spoken word readings and Chicago's African American dance culture, 'steppin'. A sequel will capitalize on the fans' fondness of the first film and reunite Larenz Tate and Nia Long with today's Chicago's landscape as a backdrop.

 

  • BOYZ IN THE HOOD, 1991

  • writer-director:  John Singleton
  • 
cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudail Al-Amir, Morris Chestnut, Angela Bassett, Ice Cube, Nia Long

  • original story:

  • The tale of three friends growing up together in inner city Los Angeles;  Half-brothers Doughboy and Ricky Baker are foils for each other's personality.  Ricky is the 'All-American' athlete, while 'Dough' succumbs to the violence, alcohol, and crime.  Between these two is their friend Tre, who's  father  teaches him to  do what is right and always take responsibility for his actions.
  • why a sequel?

  • Although Morris Chestnut's character died at the end, Cuba Gooding, Ice Cube and Chris Tucker's characters can reemerge and make a statement about today's Los Angeles crime and drug scene. Singleton kept it true in the original, which earned much respect in Hollywood and inspired more African American storytelling in the movies.  A current expose' of life in California's inner cities, from the perspective of the residents would be more enlightening than a cop-filled drama.

 

  • SET IT OFF, 1996

  • writer: Takashi Bufford
  • 
director:  F. Gary Gray
cast:  Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, Dr. Dre

  • original story:

  • Lida 'Stony' Newsom, Cleopatra 'Cleo' Sims, Francesca 'Frankie' Sutton and Tisean 'T.T.' Williams are four female inner city Southern Californian childhood friends. Now adults, the friends embark on robbing banks to fund their escape from a life surrounded by tragedy, poverty and despair. That triggers an over diligent Detective Strode and his female partner, Detective Waller, on a hunt for the armed and dangerous women.
  • why a sequel?

  • The original drama was a masterpiece in the making; a unique story of black female bank robbers, action packed cinematography and a African American female cast that delivered.   Today's story can remain suspenseful as the original, lending several parallel story lines; like Jada's character becoming a corporate executive returning home, Kimberly's character's newborn, now grown up, living a gritty street life and the police, still seeking to vindicate themselves by locating the missing monies from the robberies.

 

  • NEW JACK CITY, 1991
  • 
writer:  Thomas Lee Wright
  • 
director:  Mario Van Peebles

  • cast:  Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Judd Nelson

  • original story:

  • Nino Brown, a small time drug dealer, is convinced by one of his fellow thugs that the wave of the future is in the cocaine derivative, crack. Brown sees potential in crack and sets out to establish himself as chief kingpin by killing off his rivals. Out to stop him are undercover cops Scottie Appleton and Nick Paretti. Appleton especially wants to get Nino because of the fact that he murdered Scottie's mother as part of a gang initiation.
  • why a sequel?
  • 
Today's  crack epidemic  still resonates stronger than ever as a daily plight for thousands of users. A sequel can show how crack use has gotten worse and a look at current federal and local governmental crime fighting efforts. A possible storyline: Ice T's character can return to confront a vengeful relative of 'Nino', who has an obsession to continue a new reign of terror involving drug dealing. And with known political figures like Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who's been accused of using crack, the sequel can take the drama from a local to an international epidemic.

 

  • SCHOOL DAZE, 1988

  • writer: Spike Lee

  • director: Spike Lee

  • cast:  Spike Lee Laurence Fishburne, Giancario Esposito, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Ossie Davis

  • original story:

  • Vaughn "Dap" Dunlap is a politically conscious African American student at an all black college in rural Georgia who is feuding with the Greek fraternal system member Julian Eaves over the frat jocks' indifference to the rest of blacks in America.
Dap's younger cousin, Darrell, is a fellow activist who soon becomes torn over his political views and of his new frat brothers.   On campus, Dap's dark-skinned female activist friends battle the light-skinned female locals and school officials over school rights.
  • why a sequel?
  • 
The original was mind blowing to African American movie audiences with an in-your-face look at black college culture.  It was a first in several categories by addressing social issues that were more taboo within the African American communities. Director Spike Lee can deliver once again with today's black issues, including college life on campus, black women's choice to use weaved hair versus natural hairstyles, crime and drug use, and fatherless households and female single parenting disparities.

Malcolm Lee, who is also the cousin of film director Spike Lee, is hoping to capitalize quickly on the success of The Best Man Holiday, with a third Best Man sequel.
"I think if the audience continues to support the film, the studio would like to get a third under way soon," he tells Entertainment Weekly.
"And I have a great idea for another one. It will be a lot of fun, in a different environment, but it will be something that will still have resonance and meaning with the audience. I don’t want to wait another 14 years.”

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