“We are in an industry that doesn’t see the power Black women have at the global box office,” Viola Davis told Variety while reflecting on the movie’s success
Viola Davis is celebrating The Woman King‘s success.
Davis’ newest movie, produced by her and her husband Julius Tennon, debuted at the box office’s top spot over the weekend, grossing over $19 million nationwide, Entertainment Weekly reported.
“I think people have a tendency to say we only represent a certain percentage of the box office,” the Fences star, 57, told Variety of the numbers. “We know Black women. We know they’re going to bring people they work with, spouses and families, and come back five or six times during the weekend.”
She added, “We are in an industry that doesn’t see the power Black women have at the global box office.”
“There was a sense that our stories aren’t universal and can’t reach the white man or woman or the Hispanic man or woman,” Davis told the outlet, adding that “human stories are for everyone, not just Black consumption.”
The Oscar winner also shared a conversation she had with a white woman that enjoyed the movie and expressed her surprise for liking it. “I know my story can reach you as your story can reach me,” she recalled telling the woman. “The only one it surprises is you.”
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As for a sequel to the film, Davis said she is “totally open” to the idea. “I’m open to more but let me tell you. I already was the oldest warrior on the battlefield. If we do a sequel, I’m hoping I still have teeth,” she told Variety. “But yes, I’m totally open to it. Always.”
“We haven’t had any discussions about it as of yet,” Tennon, 68, told the outlet.
Also in the interview, the couple talked about the film’s public support from fellow Black actors like Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union and Octavia Spencer. “In order to move the narrative forward in terms of diversity and inclusion, it’s going to take all of us doing it together,” she said.
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Davis stars alongside Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega in the historical action drama.
“The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen,” an official synopsis read.
The film is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball), who co-wrote its screenplay with Dana Stevens from a story by Maria Bello.