The long-awaited film, “Birth of a Nation” hit over 2,000 theaters nationwide last weekend.
After 7 years of endless dedication from Nate Parker, director/star behind the slave revolt movie; the amazingly-inspiring story of Nat Turner has finally been brought to the big screen.
Fox Searchlight bought the distribution rights for $17.5 million after it was a massive hit at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
With all of the media attention and anticipation that has surrounded the controversial and gritty film from the very beginning, it comes as a shock that it only grossed $7.1 million at the box office.
Things took a turn for the worst when When Nate Parker’s sketchy past resurfaced.
The focus changed from highlighting Nat Turner’s heroic legacy to exposing Nate Parker’s past.
While attending Penn State in the 90s, Parker was found not guilty of raping a female student. Fast forward to 2012 when this same woman committed suicide, citing “major depressive disorder with psychotic features.”
These accusations have since caused a divide among people that still support the film and those that have completely turned their backs on Nate Parker completely.
Some say that the timing of this is meant to tarnish the film and Nate Parker’s credibility. Others think people are simply tired of seeing slave films.
Regardless of skepticism from the public, Parker’s castmates and Fox have acknowledged the accusations publicly, and hope that the message will still be heard.
Fox Searchlight distribution chief, Frank Rodriguez added, “The film stands on its own. What it was before at Sundance, the actual celluloid, the image, is still the same, but the perception may have changed and there’s not too much anyone can do about it.”
With Parker’s costar, Penelope Ann Miller, echoing that sentiment, “This isn’t the Nate Parker story, it’s the Nat Turner story.”
It is hard to say whether Birth of a Nation will be nominated at next year’s Oscars with all the drama that still surrounds the movie.
One thing is certain, Nat Turner’s story undoubtedly deserves to be told and Hollywood has shied away from that long enough.
If you have not already, will you be going to see Birth of a Nation?
By Brianna Drisdale