Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Producer of 'The Walking Dead' Says There’s No Conspiracy to Kill Off the Black Male Characters Producer of 'The Walking Dead' Says There’s No Conspiracy to Kill Off the Black Male Characters Roger Moore Says Idris Elba as James Bond is "Unrealistic" Because He's Not "English-English" Roger Moore Says Idris Elba as James Bond is "Unrealistic" Because He's Not "English-English" Dr Dre Hopes the N.W.A. Movie Will Correct Notions of the Group's Treatment of Women + Working on Inspired Album, More Dr Dre Hopes the N.W.A. Movie Will Correct Notions of the Group's Treatment of Women + Working on Inspired Album, More TV Casting Directors React to Deadline's "Ethnic Castings" Article (A Fad That Will Eventually Pass?) TV Casting Directors React to Deadline's "Ethnic Castings" Article (A Fad That Will Eventually Pass?) Taraji P. Henson Will Host 'Saturday Night Live' for the First Time in April (How Many Black Women Have Hosted?) Taraji P. Henson Will Host 'Saturday Night Live' for the First Time in April (How Many Black Women Have Hosted?) For White TV Writers Who Have Considered Racism When *Ethnic* Diversity Is Too Much For White TV Writers Who Have Considered Racism When *Ethnic* Diversity Is Too Much 'Key & Peele' "Substitute Teacher" Sketch to be Developed as a Feature Film 'Key & Peele' "Substitute Teacher" Sketch to be Developed as a Feature Film New Documentary Will Trace History of "Black Dandyism" (Trailer) New Documentary Will Trace History of "Black Dandyism" (Trailer) Best Performances By Black Actors/Actresses Ever? (Survey) Best Performances By Black Actors/Actresses Ever? (Survey) Tyler Perry Studios Forms Film, TV & Infrastructure Alliance w/ 4 Other Major Atlanta Studios Tyler Perry Studios Forms Film, TV & Infrastructure Alliance w/ 4 Other Major Atlanta Studios Watch: Kenyan Filmmaker Ng'endo Mukii Tackles 'Globalized' Beauty & African Self-Image in Award-Winning Short Film 'Yellow Fever' Watch: Kenyan Filmmaker Ng'endo Mukii Tackles 'Globalized' Beauty & African Self-Image in Award-Winning Short Film 'Yellow Fever' Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe are a Dysfunctional Mother-Son Pair in Trailer for 'Knucklehead' Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe are a Dysfunctional Mother-Son Pair in Trailer for 'Knucklehead' 'Single Ladies' Returns Tonight to a Rebranded Centric - "The First Network Designed for Black Women" 'Single Ladies' Returns Tonight to a Rebranded Centric - "The First Network Designed for Black Women" What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) 73 New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors in Starring and/or Supporting Roles Ordered for Next Season. Here's the Full List 73 New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors in Starring and/or Supporting Roles Ordered for Next Season. Here's the Full List HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Film Franchises Built Around Black Characters (Survey)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 4, 2011 at 9:50PM

This all came to me thanks to a virtual chat I had recently with a friend about the reboot of the the Alex Cross detective thriller series, based on the novel franchise written by James Patterson, which Idris Elba was once attached to take over, only to be recently replaced with Tyler Perry. Alright so... my research tells me that Virgil Tibbs was the first black fictional character to have a film franchise centered around him, that was backed by a Hollywood studio. Sidney Poitier starred in 3 successive films as Virgil Tibbs: In The Heat Of The Night (1968), They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (1970), and The Organization (1971). The last 2 were not as good as the first, but I'd say that The Organization was superior to They Call Me MISTER Tibbs.
1
Sidney Poitier

This all came to me thanks to a virtual chat I had recently with a friend about the reboot of the the Alex Cross detective thriller series, based on the novel franchise written by James Patterson, which Idris Elba was once attached to take over, only to be recently replaced with Tyler Perry. Alright so... my research tells me that Virgil Tibbs was the first black fictional character to have a film franchise centered around him, that was backed by a Hollywood studio. Sidney Poitier starred in 3 successive films as Virgil Tibbs: In The Heat Of The Night (1968), They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (1970), and The Organization (1971). The last 2 were not as good as the first, but I'd say that The Organization was superior to They Call Me MISTER Tibbs.

All 3 were released by United Artists.

The first film in the franchise was based on the 1965 novel or the same name, by <strong>John Ball</strong>, who would go on to write 6 more novels which feature the Virgil Tibbs character - the last one published in 1986. Although, the 2 film sequels weren't based on any of those successive books.

A further question is how many film franchises in film history have actually been centered around characters of African descent?

I can immediately think of one missed opportunity: Denzel Washington Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, in the adaptation of <strong>Walter Mosley's Devil In A Blue Dress - the first and only only on-screen appearance of Rawlins, even though Mosley has featured the character in at least 10 novels.

There was a potential franchise there for Denzel. And the film, directed by Carl Franklin, was actually very well received as I recall, and is still held in high regard today. It didn't do blockbuster box office, but the critics loved it.

Though I should note that, as was recently announced, the Easy Rawlins series is now being developed into a TV series instead. No ETA on when we can expect to see that.

Beverly Hills Cop is another; although the last one was garbage. Now there's talk of a 4th.

I also can't forget Shaft.

What else did I miss?


Shadow & ActNewsletter