Ten Black Films That May Never Be Released In Theaters Or On DVD
Ten Black Films That May Never Be Released In Theaters Or On DVD
by Wilson Morales
August 16, 2011
With the recent release of ‘The Help,’ starring a handful of black actors (Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, David Oyelowo, Aunjanue Ellis, Cicely Tyson, and La Chanze), it will be a while before we see the next big black film in theaters.
For the last four years, Tyler Perry had released two films annually, with one film in the Fall season. Last year, ‘For Colored Girls’ had the star-studded cast of Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Thandie Newton, Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, and Kerry Washington.
While his last film, ‘Madea’s Big Happy Family,’ was released this past April, his next feature ‘Good Deeds,’ starring himself, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad and Brian White, won’t be shown in theaters til Feb. 24, 2012. Perry is also working on ‘I, Alex Cross’ for a 2012 release date.
Meanwhile, Spike Lee just completed production on his latest film, ‘Red Hook Summer.’ While no details have not been officially announced, such as casting, plot, or distribution, there’s no telling when or if the film will be shown in theaters, cable or straight-to-DVD.
Tina Gordon Chism’s We the Peeples, which Tyler Perry is producing through his 34th Street Films, has yet to announce a release date.
That film stars Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, Kali Hawk, Diahann Carroll, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler James Williams, and Melvin Van Peebles.
For the rest of the year, we have ‘The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975‘ (Sept.9) and Roadside Attraction’s music documentary, ‘Thunder Soul.’ (Sept.23) Focus Features hasn’t determined a release date for their Sundance pick-up ‘Pariah,.’ but online reports seem to suggest that it will be shown in theaters this year.
Alrick Brown’s Rwandan genocide drama ‘Kinyarwanda’ will have a limited release this year through AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement).
Taraji P. Henson‘s star vehicle, ‘From The Rough,’ was slated to open on October 7th through AMC theaters, but was recently pushed back to Super Bowl weekend of 2012.
That’s based on the true story of Catana Starks, a former swim coach at Tennessee State University who became the first woman ever to coach a college men’s golf team, .
In 2012, there are a few black films that will come out early, starting with the musical film, ‘Joyful Noise,‘ (Jan. 13) starring Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Courtney B. Vance, and Jesse L. Martin.
Then there’s the long awaited Tuskagee film, ‘Red Tails,’ featuring a slew of black actors (Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Cliff Smith, Kevin Phillips, Rick Otto, Lee Tergesen, Andre Royo, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Marcus T. Paulk, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Jazmine Sullivan, Edwina Finley, Daniela Ruah, Stacie Davis, Gerald McRaney).
Directed by Anthony Hemingway with ‘Star Wars’ George Lucas serving as producer, ‘Tails’ had been on the editing room table since production ended over a year ago.
There are still a number of black films still doing the festival circuit such as ‘Dysfunctional Friends,’ which stars Keith Robinson, Meagan Good, Stacey Dash, Tatyana Ali, Essence Atkins, Vanessa Simmons, Erica Hubbard, Hosea Sanchez, Wesley Jonathan, Jason Weaver, Datari Turner, Reagan Gomez, Persia White, Christian Keyes, and Terrell “T.O.” Owens.
Victoria Mahoney‘s ‘Yelling To The Sky,’ which stars Zoe Kravitz, Jason Clarke, Antonique Smith, Yolonda Ross, Gabourey Sidibe, Shareeka Epps, Sonequa Martin, and Tariq Trotter is also touring around the country with a few other independent films.
What’s disturbing is that there are a number of films with blacks in lead roles that been talked about, promoted, shown at festivals, and have yet to deliver a theatrical or DVD release date.
Here are ten films that have received a lot of attention.
Directed by Geoffrey Sax, the film starred Oscar winner Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgård, Phylicia Rashad, and Chandra Wilson.
The film centered on a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality.
Following a Dec. 10 Oscar qualifying run in Los Angeles, the film was slated for a nationwide release planned for February 2011, but when the date approached, it never came out.
Halle Berry was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance and won the 2011 NAACP Award for best actress for the role.
While the film has popped up in many bootleg markets, its distributor Freestyle Releasing has yet to announced whether or not, it will still come out in theaters or even be released on DVD.
‘Winnie’ is an upcoming drama film adaptation of Anne Marie du Preez Bezrob’s biography Winnie Mandela: A Life. The film is directed by Darrell Roodt, and stars Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as Winnie with Terence Howard, who was Oscar nominated for his role in ‘Hustle and Flow,’ playing a young Nelson Mandela.
When the three minute trailer leaked online and had a negative reaction from fans, the distributor, Film Bridge International, pulled it from their website.
Coupled with the fact that Winnie Mandela is against the film being that she wasn’t consulted on it and it’s based on her life, there’s no statement on a release date.
Shot over a year ago, it was heavily promoted at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, but with Sundance Film Festival, American Black Film Festival, and this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it’s assumed that there has been no pickup.
Recently, it’s been stated that the film will be released in Canada by D Films but no press release has been issued regarding this.
Update: As of August 16, it was announced that the film will be shown at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival. Let’s hope the showing gets a positive reaction for a bigger distributor to pick it up and release it on US soil.
Produced by Rock Capital Films with Soul Food’s Rockmond Dunbar making his directorial debut, the film made the rounds through several festivals in 2009, including the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
The film has all-star cast with Salli Richardson, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Beach, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tasha Smith, Dondre T. Whitfield, Rockmond Dunbar, Ernie Hudson, Monica, Angie Stone and India.Arie.
More than a decade ago, Jessica “Jesse” Brown (played by Salli Richardson) fled home and family to find purpose in her life, but ended up supporting herself through exotic dancing. When her father falls unexpectedly ill, Jesse returns home, which forces Jesse to confront unresolved issues of jealousy, abandonment and rejection by her sister and her teenage son. Jesse’s father’s dying request for Jesse to take over as pastor of the family’s church, sparks a journey of self-discovery, through which Jesse finds her true purpose in life; and both Jesse and her family work through the universal themes of forgiveness.
After two years have gone by, with each of the actors having gone on to do other projects, there was talk that the film had a DVD release date for March 22, but was suddenly pulled back with no explanation given.
Black Water Transit
‘Black Water Transit’ is a crime drama film based on the novel of the same name by Carsten Stroud. It is directed by Tony Kaye and stars an ensemble cast including Laurence Fishburne and Karl Urban.
Successful businessman Jack Vermillon, (Fishburne) owner of a container ship company, is desperate to help his son, an ex-junkie charged with trafficking and armed robbery. Although Jack cannot get him out of jail, he might be able to get him moved from a maximum-security prison–if he can give law-enforcement officials something in trade. When tough-guy Earl Pike, (Urban) a military man with high-level CIA contacts, approaches Jack about shipping his personal gun collection out of the country–a highly illegal move–Jack figures he has something for the feds. The bust is set to go down, but all hell breaks loose, and when the shooting stops, three federal agents and a member of the NYPD are dead. Now the feds are interested in pinning the fiasco on Jack, and so is Earl Pike.
Also featured in the film are Brittany Snow, Aisha Tyler, Stephen Dorff, Alex Sol, Beverly D’Angelo, Bill Cobbs, Evan Ross, and Leslie Easterbrook.
Shot in 2007, no theatrical release dates have been announced.
Mama, I Want To Sing!
While bootleg copies of the film have been sold, this film has been official sitting on the shelf for more than two years.
An adaptation of the off-Broadway gospel stage musical of the same name, written and produced by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, the film was produced by Vision Films and CodeBlack Entertainment.
Directed by Charles Randolph Wright, the film was to be the film debut for singer Ciara. Also featured in the cast are Lynn Whitfield, Ben Vereen, Billy Zane, Hill Harper, Juanita Bynum, Kevin Phillips, Kim Porter, Patti LaBelle, and Vy Higginsen.
According to wikipedia, the official movie trailer was released and premiered on September 22, 2009. It was set to premiere September 26, 2009 at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York, but due to technical issues it was canceled. The film was also slated to premiere on July 23, 2010, at the Faith Film Festival, but was also cancelled as well.
In an October 2010 interview with the website Shadow and Act, Jeff Clanagan (CEO of Codeblack Entertainment) announced that the film was set for a January 14, 2011 release. However, it was pulled from the 10-15 theaters it was scheduled for at the last minute, with no current release date.
Directed by Dan Pritzker, the film stars Anthony Mackie as as jazz legend Buddy Bolden and and his eventual fall into schizophrenia.
Also featured in the cast are Wendell Pierce, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Rooker, Omari Hardwick, Omar Gooding, Jeff Wincott, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, April Grace, Reno Wilson and Jeryl Prescott.
Although filming began in 2007, when the StarNews interviewed ‘Bolden’ producer Jon Cornick on March 1, 2011, he stated that the movie was still in the editing phase, but that it might be seen in some film festivals toward the end of 2011. “Louis,” the silent film that was shot at the same time as “Bolden,” however, has already been viewed by audiences and received good reviews for its artistic creativity.
Things Fall Apart
Rapper/actor Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson undergoes an astonishing physical transformation as Deon Barnes, a promising Michigan football running back who dreams of one day getting drafted by the Miami Dolphins. A well-liked young man whose winning disposition makes him a hit with just about everybody (especially the girls), Deon has a line on a Heisman Trophy until he one day collapses in the locker room following a big win. The diagnosis, delivered by his doctor (played by Ray Liotta), is cancer, and Deon’s blessed life comes crashing down around him as he undergoes chemotherapy, losing his hair and over 60 lbs of muscle, his hair falling out, leaving him an emaciated shadow of his former self.
Directed by and also starring Mario Van Peeples, who plays Jackson’s father, the film also features Ray Liotta as the doctor aiding him during his treatment process.
The cast also includes Lynn Whitfield as Jackson’s mother, Tracey Heggins, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Steve Eastin, Ambyr Childers, and Cedric Sanders.
Based on the true story of a close friend, 50 Cent also co-wrote and co-produced this moving film, and provides many of the bracing original songs that make up its soundtrack. He also lost a lot of weight to play the character with authenticity.
Still traveling the festival circuit, Peebles hasn’t stated whether or not the film will hit theaters. 50 Cent’s last two films ‘Gun‘ and ‘Caught in the Crossfire‘ were released straight-to-DVD.
The action-thriller ‘Dark Tide’ concerns a diving instructor, Academy Award winner Halle Berry as shark expert Kate Mathieson returning to Great White infested waters of isolated Guadalupe Island for the first time since her own near-deadly shark attack.
Produced by Jeanette Buerling and Matthew E. Chausse and directed by John Stockwell, the only other notable name in this film is Olivier Martinez, who happens to be Berry’s current boyfriend.
According to wikipedia, the film was to be released on the 17 July 2011, but had to be postponed due to scheduling problems. There was no press release stating it upcoming release or showing at any festival.
Stockwell is no stranger to directing films surrounding water, having done ‘Blue Crush’ (2002), ‘Into the Blue’ (2005), and ‘Turistas’ (2006), but with Berry’s other film, ‘Frankie and Alice,’ still in limbo, there’s no telling where the producers plan to do with the film.
A Thousand Words
Until a trailer or new images are released, the jury is still out whether or not Paramount Pictures will finally release Eddie Murphy’s ‘A Thousand Words,’ which has been sitting on the shelves since production wrapped in 2008. The studios stated that it will distribute the film on Jan. 13, 2012.
That time of the year is usually considered a dumping period for studios, when the main focus is on potential Oscar contenders from the previous year.
Directed by Brian Robbins, who previously worked with Murphy on ‘Meet Dave‘ and ‘Norbit,’ the film revolves around Murphy, a savvy businessman who discovers he only has ‘a thousand words’ left to speak before he dies. Kerry Washington plays his wife who wants Murphy to spend more time with his family.
Also cast in the film are Kerry Washington, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Clark Duke, Cliff Curtis, John Witherspoon, and Steve Little.
‘Thousand’s release could depend how Murphy does in his next film, ‘Tower Heist,’ which is directed by Brett Ratner and co-stars Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena and Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe.
In The Hive (aka The Discarded Boyz)
Directed by Robert Townsend, the film was the opening night selection at the 2011 American Black Film Festival.
The cast included Michael Clarke Duncan, Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox, Ali Liebert, Percy Daggs III, Jonathan ‘Lil J’ McDaniel, Roger Guenveur Smith, Bre Scullark, Richard Kuhlman, Jontille Gerard, Michael Coley, Gordon Greene, David Baeza, and Tre Roberts.
The Discarded Boys is based on the real experiences of the people who attend and teach at a special school in North Carolina called “The Hive.” It’s based on a true story about this woman in North Carolina named Vivian Saunders, who basically without really any formal education, started an alternative school for all these boys who were being kicked out: gang bangers, drug dealers. And they’re all teenagers, fathers at 14 and 15.
Since its showing last July, and while it’s still early to tell, there’s been no word on what’s the next step is for the film.
It’s worth noting that films, without a deal going in, shown at black film festivals take a bit longer than others to get distributed in theaters or on home video.
‘The Heart Specialist,’ which starred Brian White, Wood Harris, Zoe Saldana, Mya, Nephew Tommy, Marla Gibbs, Jasmine Guy, Jenifer Lewis, Terrence J., Leon, and Method Man was finally released this year after being shown and winning the Best Narrative Feature Film at the 2008 Urbanworld Film Festival.
If you are aware of other films that have to yet to be released in any format, whether it be on TV, theater, or DVD, please keep me abreast at email@example.com