How did ‘Candyman’ director Nia DaCosta make history?
Candyman is back and with it came record-breaking history by director Nia DaCosta. The horror sequel of the 1992 classic made over $22 million on its opening weekend in U.S. & Canadian theaters. As a result, Nia DaCosta has become the first & only Black woman to have a movie open at number 1 on the North American box office chart.
The hook-handed killer flick earned almost as much as its own budget on opening weekend alone. An undeniable feat, we’re more than ready to see what else director Nia DaCosta has in store for audiences. Take a look at what makes DaCosta’s Candyman reimagining a box-office hit.
Candyman returns more gruesome than ever
Based on a short story by Clive Barker, the original 1992 film followed the urban legend about the ghost of a murdered son of a slave. This vengeful ghost goes on a murderous rampage of all those who say his name. Unlike the original film, Nia DaCosta’s sequel included a Black creative staff which clearly enhanced the film.
The 2021 Candyman was also written & produced by auteur Jordan Peele who also changed horror cinema history. His films Get Out and Us proved that Black narratives were direly needed within the genre. Candyman brings together today’s most imaginative Black voices in film and the movie’s greatness seems to speak for itself.
The new Candyman stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a visual artist who comes to regret basing an exhibit on the Candyman myth. The bloody horror which occurs from conjuring the Candyman can be understood as not only physical but symbolic. Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele create a visually hypnotic nightmare that poignantly symbolizes Black generational trauma & the horrors of history.
Positive reviews from film critics
Not only are box office numbers soaring but critics can’t help but admire the artistic risks taken on such a popular franchise. The New York Times wrote in their review for the film, “DaCosta plays with perspective, shifting between Anthony’s and the intersecting, sometimes colliding worlds of more-successful artists, urban-legend propagators and, touchingly, profoundly scarred children.”
“Throughout, she intersperses bits of shadow puppetry that work as a counterpoint to the main narrative, a reflexive device that emphasizes that Candyman is also fundamentally about storytelling,” added The New York Times.
In addition, Roger Ebert released a review which explained, “Candyman proposes that its monster lives on, imprisoned in his agony because this particular history keeps repeating itself. She stages the kill scenes with a mix of pitch-black humor, misdirection, and clever framing, fully acknowledging that what you don’t see—or think you saw—can be a lot worse than what you did see.”
More films from Nia DaCosta
Prior to Candyman, Nia DaCosta only had one feature film credit. Her 2018 film Little Woods features Tessa Thompson and Lily James and is described as “A modern Western about two sisters who work outside the law to better their lives.” After the release of Little Woods, DaCosta was invited to direct the latest installment in the Candyman franchise.
Now, the thirty-one-year-old director is working on The Marvels which is the sequel to the 2019 Marvel blockbuster Captain Marvel. It has also been announced that Nia DaCosta will be directing the upcoming film The Lincoln Conspiracy. The film has only been detailed as being based on the book The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President-and Why It Failed by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch.
Candyman surpasses box office expectations
The horror film passed all box office expectations as theaters continue to struggle from the pandemic’s impact on moviegoing. Candyman’s release was given a lowball projection of $15 million.
However, Nia DaCosta’s Candyman scored an estimated $22,370,00 in its initial domestic weekend, beating the original projection by nearly 50%. Box office analysts reported that Candyman exceeded their expectations for an R-rated film opening in the Covid-19 era. Even with Hurricane Ida affecting moviegoers in southern U.S. states, the film outperformed all other film releases.
Even more surprising, Candyman gained considerable attendance without a simultaneous streaming release. It seems that Candyman will continue to be raking in the box office numbers as it continues its theatrical release.
Congratulations to Nia DaCosta for being the first Black woman to have a movie open at number one on the North American box office chart! Have you seen Candyman yet? Let us know what you think about the franchise’s latest installment in the comments below!