Barry Jenkins’ new film Moonlight, an “astonishing black queer film,” as Jezebel’s Rich Juzwiak put it, opened in limited release last week, and did equally astonishing numbers. Though it only screened in four theaters around the country, earning an average of $103,685 per theater—an impressive figure that puts it alongside openings for awards season hits like The Revenant, Birdman, Midnight in Paris, and Precious, as The Playlist notes.
Moonlight, based on a play by Tarell McCraney called Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, tells the story of Chiron, a young black man who is attempting to figure out his queer identity, examining his life in three stages. Though the director, Barry Jenkins, is straight, he says in an interview with Juzwiak he felt he is “ready to tell this story,” saying, “When the Supreme Court [made same-sex marriage legal nationally] and everybody changed their Facebook profile to the rainbow colors, to me that was being a passive ally, expressing passive empathy, and I felt the responsibility to get past that and be an active ally and employ active empathy.”
He spoke with Fusion’s Tahirah Hairston about the importance of getting the movie right this week, saying, “I have to do this right because there aren’t too many films that get made about young gay black men from the hood and there’s a responsibility in that.”
Moonlight has since opened wider; find it at a theater near you.