It is becoming more and more apparent that Sony executives are just as afraid, if not more, to premiere The Interview because of the continually embarrassing and racist email leaks as they are of the alleged promise of North Korean terrorism on American soil.
Take Exhibit D, for example. Another racist email shared by Sony executives that warned them not to cast two-time Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington in big budget films because he does not fare well at the box office, particulary overseas.
This, of course, follows the racially-tinged emails exposed about Sony execs that greatly disparaged President Obama, Kevin Hart as well as made fun of white celebrities who adopt black babies — including Angelina Jolie, whom Sony executives also blasted in private emails.
According to emails from the execs, two-time Oscar winner Washington should be “blacklisted” overseas — because he is … well … black.
Quite an incredible e-mail thread since Sony is the studio that just released Washington’s latest film The Equalizer. The emails were hacked and posted online, according to radaronline.com, because the studio was about to release The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korea’s dictator.
The producer who sent the e-mail to Sony Chairman Michael Lynton said they hoped the statement was not “inappropriate or provocative.” However, the producer did suggest Sony should avoid casting black actors to appeal to an international market that the producer deemed “racist.”
“No, I am not saying The Equalizer should not have been made or that African American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the unidentified producer wrote.
“Casting him is saying we’re ok with a double if the picture works,” the producer wrote, using a baseball analogy of getting “doubles” instead of “home runs.”
“He’s reliable at the domestic [box office], safe, but has not had a huge success in years. I believe whenever possible the non event pictures, extra ‘bets’ should have a large inherent upside and be made for the right price. Here there isn’t a large inherent upside.”
Let’s do the math, shall we? Washington’s The Equalizer grossed $191 million at theaters across the glob. Forty-seven percent of the ticket sales coming from outside of the United States.
According to Hollywood execs, those are nice number, but not good enough. Most believe that upwards of 65 percent of sales should come from box offices outside the United States, the analysis said.
The reason Washington did not produce those higher numbers? According to the producer, it was Washington’s race. He’s black.
“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas,” the producer wrote. “But Sony sometimes seems to disregard that a picture must work well internationally to both maximize returns and reduce risk, especially pics with decent size budgets.”
An Equalizer sequel, set for 2017, would be “a double, with a remote chance of a home run,” the producer added.
Interesting how the producer was able to criticize the international movie market as racist without looking at the same traits existing on domestic soil.