“Red Tails” rose above Hollywood’s expectation on its opening weekend with a very respectable $19.1 million debut. The $58 million George Lucas’ passion-movie, starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., captured second place behind “Underworld Awakening 3D”.
The strong debut of the Tuskegee Airmen film put it above other comparable fighter pilot movies such as Stealth ($13.3 million), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow ($15.6 million), and Flyboys ($6 million).
“Red Tails” drew a mature and nearly even male and female audience with a 51 percent male/66 percent 25 years and older breakdown. The movie received an “A” CinemaScore, which improved to a fantastic “A+” score for those below 18 and above 50. Another interesting feat to note about Red Tails is that it brought distributor 20th Century Fox its best opening for a non-franchise title since last April’s “Rio”.
A few weeks ago, Red Tail’s high-flying numbers seemed very unlikely. But leading up to release, the film gained great momentum, especially on the web.
George Lucas previously has accused Hollywood studios of refusing to back his Red Tails project because of its all-black cast. Lucas gambled on the film with $53 million of his own money and so far it looks like he made a good bet.