At the Wrap's Lucas Shaw says that CodeBlack Entertainment, a small, revitalized production company, hopes to be at the center of a Hollywood renaissance of films about African Americans, including Lee Daniels' The Butler and Oscar hopeful 12 Years a Slave.
For 15 years, Jeff Clanagan sold comedy specials and faith-based movies to people watching at home. When the home-entertainment market collapsed a few years ago, he began to chart a new path for CodeBlack Entertainment.
He joined forces with Lionsgate, home to Tyler Perry, and decided to focus on something new: quality. CodeBlack had always released movies for African-American audiences, acquiring 15 to 20 movies a year and selling them at Wal-Mart and other retailers.
His new bosses asked him to make less with more, releasing fewer movies each year but diversifying his output, producing and distributing a wider array of films for the same market. He's still producing comedy specials, but also starry films like "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete."
The movie, directed by George Tillman Jr., arrives in theaters this weekend amid a resurgence in films about African-American subjects. "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete" centers on two kids who must survive on their own after their drug-addicted caretaker abandons them.
It stars familiar faces such as Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright, but in roles that make them unrecognizable. Hudson is a drug-addled prostitute, Mackie a gang leader and Wright a hobo.
"We're not doing the same types of movies, the same cliché movies that we've done in the past," Clanagan told TheWrap. "This was just a great movie, a great story and different from what we've seen targeted towards this niche audience."
Read Lucas Shaw's entire piece at the Wrap.
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