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The African American Film Critics Association's 11th Annual AAFCA Awards - Arrivals

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Candyman raked in an estimated $22,370,000 in its domestic weekend debut, beating the projection of $15 million by 50 percent. This incredible opening weekend performance made director Nia DaCosta the first Black female director to debut a film at number one. DaCosta makes history with record-breaking numbers.

The cast and crew are excited to celebrate the film, congratulating DaCosta on exceeding expectations. Candyman star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II sent her praises on social media after thanking fans for swarming the box office on the film’s opening weekend.

Many Black female directors have come close to reaching the number one spot such as Ava DuVernay’s work on both Selma and A Wrinkle In Time and Gina Blythewood for Love and Basketball. However, they fell short at number two while DaCosta shakes the table, opening doors for more Black women in film.

There were mixed reactions about the horror film Candyman. Some fans adored the fans new approach on an old tale, and other scary movie fans were not so enthused. Though a variation of opinions were shared online, fans supporting the film on its opening weekend helped another Black woman accomplish a particularly large feat in a space that is widely known to disregard Black people, and specifically, Black women.

To celebrate Nia DaCosta’s groundbreaking accomplishments with the release of Candyman and more future “firsts,” we gathered 10 facts you may not have known about the director:

1. Nia DaCosta Loves Scary Movies

Horror is not the easiest genre to tackle. Many people are not amused by thriller films, but DaCosta would like a word. The Little Woods director told Vulture, “I always loved horror when I was younger, I just loved all creepy films…Candyman was one of those movies that scared the sh*t out of me. I remember it aligning so well with me being in middle school, although it came out a few years before I was in middle school. In the bathroom, people would either say “Bloody Mary” or ‘Candyman.'”

Things really do come full circle.

2. She Wanted To Become A Poet

DaCosta has had a passion for writing since she was a child. She knew growing up, she wanted to be a writer in some way, shape or form. Her first plan was to become a poet, but she decided to explore different options to make a living (as poetry can be challenging).

3. The Moment She Chose Filmmaking

Though she had dreams of becoming a writer as a child, she became interested in filmmaking after watching the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, which is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

4. Early On

Nia studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She began working in film as a tv production assistant.

5. Several “Firsts”

DaCosta is the fourth woman and the first black woman to be attached to a Marvel Studios movie. She is the youngest filmmaker of the Marvel series. The Marvels film is set to debut next summer.

6. Top Boy Involvement

She directed two episodes of the British crime drama series, Top Boy, starring Kano and Ashley Walters.

7. She Chooses To Focus On “Complicated Women”

Nia is dedicated to telling stories never-before-seen. Her choices to depict these stories are intentional. She tells The Muse, “complicated women with agency is my M.O.”

8. DaCosta Hopes To Make A Western About Black Women

Nia’s has a deep fascination with the genre. She hopes to make a western about Black women who find gold.

9. She Keeps It Real

DaCosta shared her views on the the inequalities women face in the film industry. “It’s very difficult for a woman to just pop up in the studio system. But I think the same systemic issues that affect how much work women get to make is also inside the indie space,” she says in an interview with The National. “While there are more women working, we definitely get less money.”

10. Growing Up In New York

She shared with IndieWire how growing up in a metropolitan city like New York afforded her more opportunities than those living in other areas of the country. “Even though my family wasn’t necessarily super well off, I realized that, because I was in a place with a relatively great infrastructure where I could walk to a hospital, or take the train to a Planned Parenthood or whatever,” she described in the article. “I was in a much better situation than a lot of women who live in the rural parts of America.”

Congrats again Nia DaCosta! Support Candyman in theaters now.