Noel Sheppard, News Busters, January 11, 2012
Star Wars creator George Lucas said Monday that Hollywood studios refused to back his new film Red Tails — about World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen — because the cast was all black.
For those not familiar, the Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black pilots that fought in WWII segregated from white forces.
Lucas told Stewart he’s been working on the film for 23 years. Although paying for it himself, he went to the studios to create the prints, ads, and be responsible for distribution.
“I showed it to all of them and they said, ‘No. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.’“
When Stewart asked why, Lucas first responded, “Because it’s not green enough. They only release green movies.”
The filmmaker clarified, “It’s because it’s an all black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all black action pictures ever made.”
Lucas continued, “It’s a reasonably expensive movie. Normally black movies, say Tyler Perry movies or something, you know, they’re very low-budget, and, even they won’t release his movies. It goes to the lower, not major distributors. And they do well, but they do a certain amount of money, and they know what that is, and this costs more than those movies make. And they don’t believe there’s any foreign market for it. That’s 60 percent of their profit.”