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Hollywood’s Most Bankable Black Producers

These power brokers yield clout behind the scenes and generate the most green in film

Black Enterprise

December 1, 2012

Producing a movie is difficult for anyone but African Americans face even more obstacles when attempting to get a film on the big screen. The harsh reality is that right now no African American has the power to green-light a film and many African American filmmakers face smaller production budgets, receiving around $10 million to $12 million whereas the average cost of a major movie studio film is more than $90 million.  

Even the entertainment powerhouse Tyler Perry still needs the go-ahead from Lionsgate to get his next movie made, although his films are a bankable $50 million-plus on average, says Darrell D. Miller, a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP and chair of the firm’s Entertainment Law Department. Still, Perry arguably has the most leverage any one writer-director-producer can muster in Hollywood, says Miller.

Black Enterprise took a look at the highest grossing African American producers – those who among other influential roles,  engage in decision-making functions, script revisions and casting choices. The top 10 list of rankings is based on lifetime cumulative gross box office receipts worldwide. James Lassiter and Will Smith top the list grossing a lifetime total of $3 billion worldwide.


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