Poor Turnout Of Taraji P. Henson’s Proud Mary Blamed on Sony
It was supposed to be a big winner in movie theaters across the country and a big win for Empire star Taraji P. Henson, but sadly that was not the case for “Proud Mary”, which debuted at #8 on its opening weekend with a box office take of $10 million—half of the $20 million it was projected to make.
Sony, the studio releasing the film, has since been accused of dropping the ball with marketing and promotion of the action-packed thriller in which Henson plays an assassin in the who —in a twist of fate —takes in the boy she orphaned a year earlier when she killed his father and now is seeking a life for them outside of organized crime.
Negative reviews of the film—which also stars Danny Glover, Billy Brown and Margaret Avery—didn’t help any, but it was marketing and promotion—or lack thereof—which was attributed to the poor turnout.
Fans had been venting their collective frustration on social media in days leading up to the movie’s release as glimpses of Henson emerged on a small promo tour. “The press and advertising for this is so bad,” said one user on Twitter.
From ferdosa @atomicwick came this observation, “Again, it seems like people on Twitter are doing more marketing than the damn studios. Taraji P. Henson can sell a movie. She deserves a studio who knows that. #ProudMary
And Vza V. Complex tweeted this: “I gotta talk about the Marketing for Proud Mary because the only one that seems to care about the movie is Taraji.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Henson said that she had been “begging and pleading my connections and doing whatever I can to make this movie the best it can be. I don’t just put my name on stuff just to say it.”
Henson’s reps told HipHollywood they “have done as much as they can, considering Henson’s busy schedule with Empire.”
By all accounts, the films distributor, Sony Picture’s Screen Gems, didn’t do much promoting the film to the press. There wasn’t a formal junket, advance screening or world premiere.
Fellow actress Gabrielle Union took to social media to get her fans to support. Filmmaker Will Packer urged fans on social media to support a Black woman lead in an action film, arguing that it might prove to be a litmus test on the viability of such films in Hollywood.