Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe
It’s a good week to be director Nia DaCosta. Not only did her new film, the horror film Candyman, have a spectacular opening weekend, but she made history by becoming the first black female director to debut at No.1 at the box office. American.
Prior to DaCosta, Ava DuVernay was the closest to first place, opening at No.2 in 2018 with A wrinkle in time.
Candy, an update to the classic 1992 horror film of the same name, opened in theaters nationwide on Friday and ended the weekend grossing more than $ 22 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
DaCosta Candy sets urban legend in contemporary Chicago and stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (previously seen on HBO’s Watchmen) as protagonist Anthony McCoy, an artist whose professional aspirations take him to dangerous places.
DaCosta directed and co-wrote the film with Get out director Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, one of the executive producers of BlackKkKlansman. The premiere alongside the film was a “Social Impact Initiative,” a campaign created to promote conversation around the issues explored in the film, such as gentrification.
CandyDaCosta’s box office success and historic achievements are particularly impressive given the current climate. Movie theaters are still recovering as the pandemic drags on. Last year’s lockdowns hit the film industry hard, but as theaters have reopened in the past year with new security measures in place, industry experts are predicting a possible comeback.
The next step for DaCosta? She joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe after signing last year as the director of Wonders, a sequel to 2019 Captain marvel which is currently in production, according to Deadline. This is another historic gesture for the 31-year-old director and screenwriter: Wonders will make her the first black female director to sit at the helm of a Marvel movie.
Going from horror to action was a refreshing change of theme, DaCosta said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last month.
“It’s a lot less traumatic to work on it for sure,” she said. “But this film is also about specific, personal, sometimes sad things. But … it’s been nice to work in a different world, for sure.”