The Perfect Guy slayed the box office this weekend, taking in $26.7 million. The romantic thriller follows a successful business woman (Sanaa Lathan) falling for charming but unstable man (Michael Ealy) after breaking up with her long time boyfriend (Morris Chestnut). The Perfect Guy switched the traditional gender roles of stalker-victim and audiences responded in a big way. The Perfect Guy’s box office performance continues to build significant momentum for Black films from different genres. Over the last month, Black led films Straight Outta Compton and War Room have reined supreme at the box office.
The Perfect Guy scores a box office win on the same weekend No Good Deed opened last year. The Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba thriller brought in $24.3 million opening weekend and grossed $52 million overall. Black audiences are not offered a wide variety of movie options genre-wise outside of comedy or “urban films” but Hollywood will not ignore a profit, and success changes narrative. Lathan says as much in her interview with Variety.
“The more diverse movies that make money, (the more) they will start making,” she said. “That’s the marker of success.”
The Perfect Guy is a romantic date movie led by a trio of fantastic actors. Lathan also stated the importance of Black led films transcending out of suffocating “black film” labels and the important emergence of more genre films.
“I think the language needs to change, the language about ‘Oh, this is an Urban film or this is a niche film. ’ No, these are Hollywood films,” she told Variety. “And it’s to marginalize us because it’s like some kind of a freak thing that we’ve made all this money off this movie. That’s a problem for me.”
The Perfect Guy shows an upward trajectory in diversifying genre films and unearths vast potential in under served Black audiences hungry for more diversity.