Spike Lee let’s us Know what he Really Thinks About Hollywood.
Last we heard, he had Tyler Perry’s panties in a bunch, this time he’s going after “The Industry”. In an interview with Charlie Rose as recaptured on the website The Hollywood Reporter, he expressed how he didn’t like how the industry picked award winners and discussed how bad the actors and actresses are treated.
“You’re out there buck-naked and that is hard. The reason why actors are f*cked up: can you imagine having a job where someone is, “No, no, no. Your butt’s too big. Your heads to big. You’re too skinny. Your nose is too big?”
He then let us know his real feeling about not winning the Oscar for 1989, which some say was his best film, “Do the Right Thing”.
“In 1989, ‘Do the Right Thing’ was not even nominated,” he said. “What film won best picture in 1989? ‘Driving Miss Mother F*cking Daisy!’ That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter. Because 20 years later, who’s watching ‘Driving Miss Daisy’?… There are many times in history where the best work does not get awarded. And I’m not even talking about my own work. So that’s why [the Oscars] don’t matter.”
He compared the Academy award judges to ref’s who make a bad call during a ball game and then have “make-up calls” to fix their error. He referenced Al Pacino not winning for Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, The Godfather, or The God father II but winning for a less worthy Scent of a Woman. Similar: Denzel not winning for Malcolm X but winning 10 years later for Training Day. (I personally think Training Day was a better performance, the evil Denzel was just crazy good.)
Lee is frustrated; he had several projects that never came to fruition. We heard a lot about the biography of Jackie Robinson, he has ideas of a project about James Brown, and he was close to making a sequel to “The Inside Man” which has been Spike’s most successful movie to date.
He hasn’t made a traditional feature film in three years. I would go out on a limb and say, maybe it’s got something to do with his attitude, his lack of respect for the industry as a whole and the people who run it. Spike is a genius, his movies are genius and his points are valid. That being said, what has made him a success is now hindering his progress. I’m not asking him to change because that would be wrong; I’m just asking him to be patient. I think we will see another masterpiece soon, that will catapult Spike into the stratosphere monetarily that he deserves.
Another reason is the fact that he just doesn’t bring in the numbers other directors bring in – Period. It’s a business and that’s all people care about in the end. So unless you have enough bank to fund your own projects all you have is your contacts and your box office draw, and Spike is hurting severely in both of those areas. His movies require block buster budgets and have Indie film returns.
How has Spike done at the box office? By Hollywood standards, these are horrible numbers – Part of the reason is white audiences are alienated, and by the numbers African American’s would rather pay to see “Madea Goes to Jail” then “He Got Game” or “Malcolm X”.
|9/26/2008||Miracle at St. Anna||$3,477,996||$7,916,887|
|7/30/2004||She Hate Me||$55,016||$365,134|
|8/18/2000||The Original Kings of Comedy||$11,053,832||$38,168,022|
|7/2/1999||Summer of Sam||$7,991,450||$19,288,130|
|5/1/1998||He Got Game||$7,610,663||$21,567,853|
|10/16/1996||Get on the Bus||$2,156,409||$5,691,854|
|7/9/1997||4 Little Girls||$13,528||$218,444|
|8/3/1990||Mo’ Better Blues||$4,387,360||$16,153,000|
|6/30/1989||Do the Right Thing||$3,563,535||$26,004,026|
|8/8/1986||She’s Gotta Have It||$28,473||$7,137,502|
Tyler Perry’s Box office Numbers By Comparison
|11/5/2010||For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf||$19,497,324||$37,729,698|
|4/2/2010||Why Did I Get Married Too?||$29,289,537||$60,095,852|
|9/12/2008||The Family That Preys||$17,381,218||$37,105,289|
|9/11/2009||I Can Do Bad All By Myself||$23,446,785||$51,733,921|
|2/20/2009||Madea Goes To Jail||$41,030,947||$90,508,336|
|3/21/2008||Meet the Browns||$20,082,809||$41,975,388|
|10/12/2007||Why Did I Get Married?||$21,353,789||$55,204,525|
|2/14/2007||Daddy’s Little Girls||$11,210,754||$31,366,978|
|2/24/2006||Madea’s Family Reunion||$30,030,661||$63,257,940|
|Average Opening Weekend||$23,702,64|
Box Office Data from The Numbers.com