By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 4, 2013 at 5:58PM
Lots of release date shifting going on... here's another.
In January, Fox Searchlight announced that playwright/director David E. Talbert's rom-com, Baggage Claim, would open in theaters on October 25, 2013.
The studio has now moved that date up by a month to September 27, 2013.
Why? Well, as I noted in a previous post, this fall will be a crowded one for black cinema, so it's really no surprise that studios with black cinema titles set to open in the fall, want to put their films in the best possible situations that would lead to strong box office receipts.
After all, black audiences are a monolith, right? We all flock to the same films when they open, and God forbid, there is more than one black film opening on any given weekend.
So let's take a look at this new date for Baggage Claim, as well as the old. If left to open on the previously-set October 25th date, the film's only competition that weekend would be Paranormal Activity 5. Although that film's release date has been set for some time, so it's not like the releasing studio recently moved it to that date, and Fox Searchlight had to react.
The only thing of significance that's happened recently is that, a couple of weeks ago, The Weinstein Company set the release date for The Butler, for the week before Baggage Claim was previously set to open. So it could be that they were worried about spill-over?
Its new release date, September 27, is actually a lot more crowded than the October 25 date, with 3 big budget films opening wide that weekend: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Runner Runner, and The Tomb. One is a family animated feature, the other 2 are action thrillers starring Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton (Runner Runner), and Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Tomb).
While none of the 3 are *black films* I'm say that, collectively, they present much more competition that weekend for Baggage Claim, than Paranormal Activity 5 will. I know black folks love horror films, but that October 25 weekend, with just one film competing, looks a lot safer to me than the new date.
The primary target audience for Baggage Claim will likely be black women between 18 and 50, so it could be that Fox is thinking there's really nothing that weekend for black women (like there ever really is anyway), with all that testosterone, and the family anime, so it won't get buried. But I'd say the same thing about Paranormal Activity 5. Is that a film that black women have on their must-see lists this year?
But what do I know; I'm not a Fox Searchlight executive, nor am I privy to any of their decision meetings, so I'm sure they feel that, for reasons they've determined, the September 27 date gives the film the best chance at the box office.
The loaded cast includes Paula Patton, Derek Luke, Octavia Spencer, Taye Diggs, Trey Songz, Jill Scott, J Cole, Djimon Hounsou, Adam Brody, Morris Chestnut, Lauren London, Christina Milian, Tia Mowry and Terrence J.
Based on Talbert's best-selling debut novel about a flight attendant with thirty days and thirty thousand miles to find a husband, the synopsis for Baggage Claim reads:
Pledging to keep herself from being the oldest and the only woman in her entire family never to wed, Montana embarks on a thirty-day, thirty-thousand-mile expedition to charm a potential suitor into becoming her fiancé. Whom will she choose? Damon Diesel, a P. Diddy wannabe; Reverend Curtis P. Merewether, pastor of Greater House of Deliverance, Tabernacle of Praise, Worship, and Miracles; pompous attorney-turned-councilman Langston Jefferson Battle III; or Quinton Jamison, a multimillionaire who's twenty years her senior?
Patton leads the ensemble cast, starring as our husband-seeking flight attendant.
This will be Talbert's first theatrically-released film since 2008's First Sunday.
Now we wait to see that first trailer for Baggage Claim.