Proud Mary comes out on Friday. Proud Mary stars Taraji P. Henson as a badass hitwoman entangled in a Boston-area family of mobsters. When I first saw the trailer for Proud Mary, I was so excited. I made plans to see it opening weekend with my girlfriends but until last night, I forgot that opening weekend was THIS weekend.
This morning, Ira Madison III wrote a piece for The Daily Beast called “Why Isn’t Sony Doing More to Promote ‘Proud Mary’ and Taraji P. Henson?” He points out that the film has not been screened for critics, so there will be no advance reviews. This is usually what studios do if the movie is bad and they’re trying to hide that fact from audiences. That could be what’s happening with Proud Mary but there’s also the other obvious suspicion as to why Sony has under-promoted this film. Proud Mary is a movie starring a black woman over 40, and that black woman over 40 is kicking ass. Films like these are extremely rare and for some reason, studios still seem to think these films aren’t worth promoting.
Ira asked, “Is it a case of a studio underselling a black film, as is customary in Hollywood? Or does Sony want to hide the fact that the film might not be very good?”
Even if Proud Mary isn’t very good, it’s still a flashy action movie that if, say, Ryan Reynolds was starring in, we’d have 53 anecdotes about Ryan and Blake Lively all over PEOPLE’s top page and 45 interviews about which of their daughters poops first in the morning. We’d be hearing about it non-stop.
Proud Mary is coming out this week, in January. This time of year is usually a wasteland of sh-tty movies. I get that. And Proud Mary very well may be a bad movie but like The Daily Beast article points out, so is Bright. And by all accounts, that movie was a success. Press interviewing Taraji for the Proud Mary junket didn’t even get to screen the film first. If Proud Mary fails, is this going to give studios another reason to dismiss movies starring black women (like Hidden Figures and Girls Trip don’t exist) or will the onus land on crappy promotion?
Taraji P. Henson is a great at promotion. She’s also charming as hell. Just watch her on Fallon talk about her adorable new puppy or be hilarious even when she’s describing the ingredients of vegetarian chilli.
Taraji P. Henson deserved better. Proud Mary deserved more promotion. I want weeks of a Taraji press tour. I want to know more about Taraji and her boyfriend, former football player Kelvin Hayden. The general rule for studios should be this: MORE TARAJI.
Here's Taraji promoting Proud Mary in New York yesterday.