THE GREAT DEBATERS can’t argue its way at the box office


With all the marketing and TV spots and Oprah’s backing, none of the above were good enough to get Denzel Washington’ s latest film, ‘The Great Debaters’ into the top ten of the box office. It landed in #11 place with about $6.3 million dollars. It’s total so far, since its opening on Christmas day, is $13.5 million dollars. Although it’s playing in limited theaters (1,171), last year’s blockbuster ‘Dreamgirls’ opened on the same day but had better results in less theaters ($8 million dollars from 852 theaters). Where was the love this year?

Back in October when Washington held a press conference while promoting ‘American Gangster’, he addressed the issue of marketing and mentioned that the film would be opened on at least 2000 theaters. Having learned from his last directorial film, ‘Antwone Fisher’, Washington said, ‘To be quite frank with you, one of the things I’ve learned from that first go-round is that I’m popular, so if you do the Oprah Winfrey show or The Today Show or this or that or The Tonight Show, and you tell people the film’s coming out on Friday, but in fact it’s platformed and only coming out in two theatres, it’s a mistake. So we’re not coming out in two theatres, we’re coming out in 2,000 or something right away, and not to knock the marketing guys or whoever, because I was as much a part of that as they were, but I think that’s something we’ll do differently this time. – I guess the powers that be had other ideas. We shall see. –AOL BlackVoices

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