When Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation debuted at the Sundance Film Festival all the way back in January, it garnered red-hot buzz that included awards chatter. Fox Searchlight quickly snatched up the rights and it rolls out in theaters next weekend. The pic tells the true life tale of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner in 1831. Parker directed, produced, wrote, and stars in the $10 million production. Costars include Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Penelope Ann Miller.
Since its wildly successful roll out this past winter, Birth has faced an interesting and sometimes troubling journey to the wide release date. While its 82% on Rotten Tomatoes indicates the aforementioned positive critical reaction, the film has seemed to diminish in the view of Oscar forecasters. Whether that’s due to buzz waning or other worthy pictures being screened since then is an open question.
And, yes, there’s the matter of Nate Parker’s personal life stemming from a 1999 rape case and his accuser’s suicide years later. The matter has received significant publicity over the last few months. How the story affects Nation‘s box office performance obviously seems inconsequential considering the larger picture, but it must be taken into consideration for any prediction.
All of those factors have contributed to Birth losing some luster and, truth be told, my opening weekend prediction post Sundance probably would’ve been higher. I’ll predict this manages to get past double digits, but not by much.
The Birth of a Nation opening weekend prediction: $10.5 million
For my The Girl on the Train prediction, click here:
For my Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life prediction, click here: