Kevin Hart Doesn't Need White Moviegoers To Be A Movie Star

January 16, 2015 3:00 PM

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Today sees the nationwide release of The Wedding Ringer from Sony Pictures. As of this writing, the $23 million comedy is tracking at around over/under $25 million over the four-day holiday, or about what About Last Night opened with over President’s Day 2014. Sony was skimpy with press screenings but was played heavy in terms of social media and word-of-mouth screenings, as I noted a few months back when discussing a trailer filled with tweets from random audience members from preview screenings. Anyway, what is interesting about The Wedding Ringer is that it is the first Kevin Hart post-stardom vehicle that surrounds him with mostly white actors. That’s neither good nor bad, but it makes this as good a time as any to briefly discussing the notion of “crossing over” in terms of racial demographics, because it is something that may-well be discussed when the film’s opening weekend and/or final grosses are analyzed. So consider this a preemptive strike of sorts. To wit, Kevin Hart doesn’t need to cross over at all in order to continue to be a box office draw/movie star making precisely the kind of films he seems set on making. He didn’t need white audiences to become a movie star. He doesn’t need them to continue being a movie star.

Last year’s hits, Ride Along, About Last Night, and Think Like A Man Too were explicitly black-centric vehicles that featured primarily black casts. The Wedding Ringer features Hart as a glorified straight man in a film featuring the likes of Josh Gad (from Frozen), Kaley Cuoco (from The Big Bang Th...

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