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Milk Carton Alert – What Happened To These Films… And Others? (Survey)

So, usually, when we do these milk carton alerts, they’re usually for people – actors and directors mostly.

This time, I’m concentrating on films specifically.

There are a number of films by and/or about black people that we’ve talked about on this site over the last 10 months it’s been in existence, that just seem to have disappeared. And by all that I mean, many of them were actually produced, but were never released, and we haven’t heard anything about them since the early discussions of their making.

I’m talking about films like:

- The George Lucas-produced Tuskegee Airmen actioner titled Red Tails; first announced around 2005; went into production finally in 2009 – we saw on-set still photos and everything; then there was talk that Lucas wasn’t happy with the footage he saw (Anthony Hemingway directed the film, John Ridley penned it), and Lucas planned to re-write the script and re-shoot several scenes. Of course, Lucas’ people denied any of that was the case, suggesting that he was just shooting “pick-up” shots, not retooling the entire film. That was the last we heard about the film – several months ago. IMDB lists its release date as 2011, but no specific month or day is given, because it’s not certain. I’ve reached out to LucasFilm for updates, but no replies yet. I won’t hold my breath, although ya never know.

- Then there’s the Eddie Murphy dramedy A Thousand Words, which co-stars Kerry Washington. Say it ain’t so. I thought Eddie Murphy was money! Apparently not! As Sergio noted in our last post on the film, about a year ago, it was scheduled to be released in 2009, but thanks to some really terrible advance word-of-mouth, based on test screenings, it was pushed back to Jan. 27, 2011. Well, January 27th, 2011 was about 3 weeks ago, and certainly no film. So, really those who were present for the 2009 test screenings are the only folks who’ve seen the film – other than those who made it anyway. Anthony, who occasionally writes for the site, was one of those people, and, according to him, the film was “tough to sit through;” Re-shoots were reportedly planned, according to feedback from test audiences, but that was almost 2 years ago, and still nothing! Not even preview still images, clips, a trailer. Nothing at all! How bad could it really be? Even if it’s a stink bomb, I’d still expect a DVD release. As I did with Red Tails, I’ve reached out to Dreamworks for updates, but no replies yet.

- And then there’s the Jennifer Hudson/Terence Howard film based on the life of Winnie Mandela, titled Winnie. As many of you will probably recall, we debuted the trailer on this site late last year, and it quickly spread across the web, attracting nothing but derision and revulsion. It was almost universally ridiculed and panned, which led the South African production team to immediately pull it off the web. It was a little too late though. By then it had already been seen by tens of thousands of people, if not more. Our trailer alone, as a sample, was played just over 16,000 times! Nope, the filmmakers weren’t too pleased with the reaction. As for whether all that excitement made them reconsider releasing the film is anyone’s guess; or at least, maybe think about re-shooting some scenes, or re-cutting the film… or something. But nothing has been heard of the film since last falls debacle. No specific release date is listed either. And no response from the film’s reps.

And I’m sure there are more titles that I just can’t think of at the moment… but that’s where YOU come in! I’d like to solve the mysteries of all those already-produced but seemingly dead projects solved. But I can’t do that if I don’t know what they all are.

I’m already on the case for the above 3, although, if you have any info about any of them, please enlighten us. Frankly, of the 3, I’m most curious about Red Tails. I haven’t liked most of Eddie Murphy’s most recent films, and I don’t anticipate I’ll care for A Thousand Words either. And the Winnie trailer looked so awful that what little enthusiasm I had for it was quickly quelled.

Anywho… if there are any other films that should be on this Milk Carton alert list, drop them in the comments section below; and if you have info on any of these films, share!

4 comments to Milk Carton Alert – What Happened To These Films… And Others? (Survey)

  • Darkan

    Bolden! starring Anthony Mackie and Jackie Earle Haley. Started in 2007 Post since 2007 release 2011 but no trailer, photos or release date but there is a trailer on Louis but no release date. Is it the same film?

  • Sergio

    I’ve been in touch with the South African producers of Winnie and they told me a few weeks ago that they were in disccusions with a U.S. distributor and that the deal wouuld be completed this month.

    Well that’s what they said. We’ll just have to see for ourselves….

  • Jug

    Ummm…yeah, wasn’t RED TAILS supposed to be ready for Black History Month? :-(

  • Tony

    What happened to the Wendy Williams Biopic starring Robin Givens. Was watching a decent (hurts to say) Tyler Perry film entitled The Family That Preys and Givens was featured after a long absence from acting. Williams appears to be on the rise as my sister and several family memebers watch her show religiously.

    Also production that was to begin or take place on Tina McElroy Ansa’s Baby of the Family or another book adaptation. Which made me jealous as I want to make Ugly Ways myself.

    Speaking of film adaptations where is The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding Black Women?