BY KOURTNEY WEBB
Bounce TV, an African American broadcast television network, is expanding into the movie streaming business. Brown Sugar, owned by the company, will be like Netflix, but Blacker; the streaming service will host a plethora of Blaxploitation films from the 70s.
Like Netflix, the subscription-based service offers its customers a chance to browse their library of movies for a fee. Brown Sugar customers can get all the black action heroes they have been looking for, commercial free and unedited, for 3.99 a month. Although, the company is offering a free one-month trial for the services launch.
The term “Blaxploitation” was coined in the 1970s to refer to Black action films targeted towards Black audiences. The civil rights movement of the 60s, the rise in television, the decline in musicals, and the failing industry of Hollywoods major studios to produce films audiences related to combined to make a way for the Black action hero on the silver screen, according to Separate Cinema.
Black American movie goers wanted representation on screen, and Hollywood needed a hit.
MGM Studios developed the blueprint with their release of Shaft. The movie was the first of its kind paving the way for other Black characters. The movie grossed $12 million at the box office, beating the pre-release predictions. The movie ultimately rescued the dying studio from financial ruin and gave the Black audience narratives that reflected Black characters as educated, down to earth yet complicated leads.
The genre spiked with different movie variations of the category. There were gangster stories, horror flicks, science fiction stories, westerns and mob films. The genre had continued success because there was something for everyone.
Brown Sugar takes classics like Foxy Brown, The Mack, Super Fly and Blacula, along with 100 other titles, to create a one-of-a-kind streaming experience.
Blaxploitation movies proved to Hollywood that Black actors held immense weight with audiences. This fact still rings true in today’s box office appeal. Analysts and distribution executives have been inaccurate on several occasions when predicting the opening-weekend results of films where Black actors play the lead. For example, Straight Outta Compton’s opening weekend sales was $20 million over what most trade publications had predicted, reported Variety.
Although the Blaxploitation movie genre has died off, the influence of its characters are still seen in music and television today.
Brown Sugar is now available for mobile phones and tablets in the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store and for computers on Brown Sugars website.