Sadly, race baiting not only helps in politics but also in the box office.
Before the release of The Butler, a docudrama inspired by White House butler Eugene Allen who served eight presidents, Oprah exploited the race card to generate attention for the movie.
As discussed in an earlier post, Oprah claimed she was unfairly treated in a retail store in Switzerland and she also made the outrageous comparison of the murder of Emmett Till to the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.
Oprah’s public relations stunt worked.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Oprah Winfrey’s public relations push was responsible for The Butler’s opening weekend success:
Love her or hate her, co-star Oprah Winfrey and her big media blitz helped open the pic even if it did little to help her public image by providing more dirt for her detractors. Yet a survey by Fandango found that 72% of Butler ticket-buyers claimed Oprah’s involvement increased their interest in seeing the film which was her first movie role in 15 years.
The initial box office success of The Butler was also attributed to the marketing plan executed by The Weinstein Co. (TWC) – the film’s studio.
Of those buying tickets, 39 percent were African-Americans, an especially strong turnout. TWC and other box office observers believe church groups played a key role in driving the film’s opening, noting a large number of advance ticket sales. Major markets where the film overperformed in predominately black theaters include Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Atlanta and Chicago (Winfrey’s home turf).
TWC’s marketing plan took a page from the Democrat Party play book that is extremely successful in getting black voters to the polls.
Let’s not forget that the huge black turnout in the 2012 election was largely responsible for the reelection of President Obama.
While blacks only represent about thirteen percent of the population, micro targeting the population can yield huge financial and political benefits for those that recognize this strategy.