same old story, same old song
For several weeks I’d been seeing advertisements for that new Sanaa Lathan movie “Something New” in magazines and on tv. I had a vague idea that the movie concerned Lathan being romantically and interracially involved with Matthew Mcconaughey. I also had a vague idea that I had no desire to see the movie. The “interracial thing” just doesn’t interest me. *shrug* I haven’t seen “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, nor did I see the reverse comedy “Guess Who”. Sorry, I don’t have enough words to fill even a single paragraph on why I don’t get into it, I just don’t. That’s about it.
It wasn’t until 2 of my girlfriends declared that not only were they going to see it, but that I should see it too because “they” (the studio? the motion picture association of america? the media? black folks? white folks?) had only given the movie 2 weeks to succeed in the box office before it would most likely be pulled for poor performance. We HAD to go and see it, they told me, because the movie was written, produced, and directed by Black women. And that was the kicker for me. Black women doing it for themselves. It goes without saying that I want to support my sisters in every way I can and if that calls for a couple of hours of my Friday night and $8, then let me stand up and be counted. They had convinced me and we set out to see the movie on its second weekend in the box office.
The movie itself wasn’t bad. I’ve heard from other women that it was great, but I’m not really going that far. For a romantic comedy, it wasn’t bad at all. I’ll go so far as saying that it was pretty ok and if you’re considering seeing it, I definitely recommend it. That’s really high praise coming from me.
The problem started however a week and a day later, when Tif, Bill, Bill’s girlfriend Jamie, and myself went to Baltimore’s revival theater The Charles to see a hugely touching documentary called “The Boys of Baraka” (Synopsis: Until recently, each year 20 African-American young men were selected from Baltimore’s inner city schools to attend 7th and 8th grades at the Baraka School in Nairobi, Kenya. The movie begins with the statistic that 76% of African-American males in Baltimore do not graduate from high school. Heart-wrenching. See it if you can.) While stuffing my gloves into my jacket pocket, something that I thought (and now wish) was a meaningless receipt fell to the floor. I reached down to examine it and discovered that it was the debit card receipt and ticket stub from my trip to the Towson Theater the previous weekend. However, both the stub and receipt read in large bold capital letters FINAL DESTINATION 3. I shrieked. People in the lobby turned around to look at me. I whipped out my phone and texed both of my friends. I remembered that I paid for myself and one other person. DAMN! They got us. Twice. One of my girlfriends says that she’s going to call the theater and give them a good what’s what. I shrugged and asked what good that was going to do. It wasn’t going to change the reporting of the numbers.
I remember when there was a big thing amongst the black community concerning the movies of Spike Lee and others and how they were consistently underreported at the box office because of this same type of ticket switching by theaters. A cursory Google search didn’t turn up anything regarding this or any other movie, but I remember that back in the day the ghetto rumor mill always warned us to watch our stubs.
I did find that to date, Something New has grossed about $8.2 million at the box office, a paltry sum that pushed it from #7 its opening weekend, and dropped it to #11 after the second. I mean, of course I don’t think that every theater is doing this. I’m not even sure it wasn’t a mistake on the part of the (young black) man at the ticket office. But it kills me that it could be evidence of a bigger problem. And don’t get me wrong, with movies like Final Destination, Big Mama’s House, and Pink Panther being released around the same time, I doubt if accurate reporting would put Something New much higher than its current rank. But I’m pissed that the sole reason why I went to see the movie was thwarted by some ole extraneous shit. And really now, there’s nothing I can do about it.
Except make you aware.
Oh, by the way, it wasn’t Matthew Mcconaughey at all. It was a look-a-like. I’m sure that its not a coincidence, since Mcconaughey is arguably one of the most attractive white men on any screen today.