In 2017, the Jordan Peele written and directed movie, Get Out hit theaters and was a smash hit. The film, 254 million on a 5 million dollar budget and won an Oscar (among others) for Best Original Screenplay. By anyone’s imagination, this movie was a hit.
The expert acting, cast, and action of the movie placed it on everyone’s must-see list and the social commentary on the psychological effects of racism made the film culturally significant and cemented its place in film history.
Personally, I saw the film in theaters five times, and yes I paid for each one. I was happy to, I soaked up every moment and what was more, I loved watching the audiences. It seemed that no matter the audiences racial makeup, everyone was on the same side. The movie was more than a movie, it did what all filmmakers strive to achieve, it touched people.
Once the whole Get Out train had pulled neatly into its station, packed from car to caboose with awards and praise, I knew what was going to happen next. Like the helpless audience watching a killer stalk their victim from the shadows, I knew what was coming around the corner.
Hollywood inspires repetition, if something works once, it’ll work again and again until the money dries up and audiences are sick of it. What made Get Out to incredible was it’s voice, direction, and story, all of which came out of the mind of a black American living in these times. It feels ridiculous to point out the similarities in the movie to the after-effects in real life, to see black voices, and experiences coopted by white producers and directors for profit, a creative lobotomy, but that is exactly what happened.
There were a series of movies that came out immediately following Get Out, that featured the key point of the film which included the suffering of black bodies but missed the empathy of what happens to the suffering of black psychology after that suffering.
These movies were all largely unsuccessful at the box office. For reasons many will say had less to do with film quality and more to do with the hue of it’s cast. Movies like Deon Taylor’s Traffik, James McTeigue’s Breaking In, Babak Najafi’s Proud Mary, Acrimony and Gerard McMurry’s The First Purge.
Suddenly producers are paying more attention to black audiences, black stories, black directors, but most importantly black finance. It remains to be seen how this will all shake out for black creators at large, we will need a decade or two for those think pieces. I just hope that in our fight for a seat at the table, black people won’t lose their souls in the process.