Red Tails feat. Tyler and Katy Perry

Red Tails was released more than two months ago. That’s enough time to be able to step back and give a few observations:

For whatever reason, “black films” are not a profitable enterprise. As of March 23, 2012, Red Tails has grossed $49 million, but the budget for the film was $58 million making a loss of $9 million. The reason producers are hesitant to front the money for movies featuring a cast of mostly black actors and actresses is because audiences do not support the movies. The major exception to this rule is Tyler Perry.

The number one individual earner in Hollywood right now is Tyler Perry. His movies are judged harshly by critics but the numbers do not lie – his target demographic is supporting the stuff he produces. People enjoy the stories he tells. Perry knows what his audiences seek and he finds a way to give it to them. Other black films tend to have issues drawing heavy interest from anyone. There could be several reasons for this but perhaps the most damning is inaccurate marketing.

For example, check out this television ad for Red Tails:

Who are they even advertising to? This is a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, heroes of WWII. How in the heck is dubstep setting the right tone? It’s not reaching out to a black audience. It’s about as silly as airing an ad touting the rerelease of “The Color Purple” in 3-D with Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” in the background.

Instructions for poor marketing simulation:

1) Click the play button for “The Color Purple” trailer. Pause the video as it is starting and then mute the video.

2) Click the play button for the Katy Perry video. Pause the video. Play “The Color Purple” trailer and then click play for the Katy Perry video. Now focus your attention on “The Color Purple” trailer.

3) Watch the fail occur.

Music in an ad doesn’t guarantee a thing, but it can persuade moviegoers to stay away.

Lots of things need to be addressed concerning the lack of representation for minorities in Hollywood, but it would help if someone wrote a story good enough to draw audiences to the film for a reason other than the color of the actors’ skin.  

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