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‘Candyman’ becomes first No. 1 film directed by a Black woman

Nia DaCosta’s Candyman grossed $22.3 million during opening weekend.

Nia DaCosta WireImage

Nia DaCosta made history by becoming the first Black woman to top the box office charts with her remake of the 1992 horror film Candyman. The movie, which was released nationwide in theaters last Friday (Aug. 27), grossed $22.3 million opening weekend. Candyman also became the second-highest grossing three-day domestic weekend box office opening for a Black female director, behind Ava Duvernay’s A Wrinkle In Time.

Candyman takes a look at the urban legend of a man who haunted his neighborhood for hundreds of years. Legend has it, if you say “Candyman” five times in a mirror, he will appear and attack you with his hook.

DaCosta made her film debut with Little Woods, a project about two estranged sisters who worked to better their lives. The movie, which earned a 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, dealt with real-world topics such as poverty, criminal justice and access to health care.

In 2019, DaCosta directed two episodes of Netflix’s “Top Boy.” She also worked as a writer for HBO’s “Industry.” Currently, she is working on The Marvels, a highly anticipated sequel to Captain Marvel, which is scheduled to be released on Nov. 11, 2022. DaCosta is the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studios picture.

DaCosta recently spoke to The New York Times about the pressure to have Candyman meet fans’ expectations. “I was really excited because Jordan Peele was co-writer and a producer — no-brainer,” she said. “So, I felt really safe in the process because I’m a huge fan of his. But then, of course, reality sets in. It’s not even, like, ‘Oh, the fans really want. …’ It’s a studio film. They have what they wanted to do, which is basically make a trillion dollars and be critically acclaimed. I think that was when I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ Then you have the community that I made the movie for, which is my community in a macro sense — the Black community. But then in the micro sense, a community I’m not a part of, the Cabrini-Green community. So, there are a lot of people that you want to do well for, and that can be daunting. But I think I just wanted to end with an open heart and humility as a fan of the original Candyman, as well as a respect for what we’re portraying. I have to have faith that would guide me to do the best I could.”

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