The summer box office season has vanished. With an ever-changing industry and the erasure of mid-budget films, Hollywood has started rolling out what would have been their massive summer blockbusters at various times throughout the year. With the rise of the superhero genre, the return or some massive franchises like Star Wars and J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, studios are pulling audiences into theaters whenever they can, and more often than not, a large percentage of that audience are Black and brown faces.
In 2016, a year that saw Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Fences all released to critical acclaim, Black people made up 15 percent of frequent moviegoers, while comprising of just 12 percent of the U.S. population. As films have slowly become more diverse, we continue to head to the theaters in droves. In fact, when the Dwayne Johnson action adventure Rampage was released last weekend, sliding into the number one spot with $34.5 million earned domestically, it was Black dollars that really contributed to the film’s success.
Johnson is obviously a massive star who has a unique way of engaging with his audience, but Warner Bros. marketing strategy in a post-Black Panther world was also vital. After Rampage’s opening weekend, Shadow and Act sat down to chat with Warner Bros.’ VP of Multicultural Marketing, Terra Potts, about why Black people came out in droves for the film. “I think it happened for multiple reasons,” Potts explained. “In Rampage, specifically, I think it’s because when you have a star as big as Dwayne Johnson, and Dwayne has this special quality that I think not a lot of movie stars have where he’s so accessible, and he’s able to transcend any boundaries that exist. He just brings in audiences in a very unique way, and his films always perform well with a multicultural audience. I think he just did it again here.”
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