This past weekend, the new Candyman film premiered at the top of the American box office, making director Nia DaCosta the first Black female filmmaker to have a movie debut at the top slot. Candyman grossed an estimated $22.3 million in its first weekend in the United States, nearly doubling the $15 million projections.
Candyman is a sequel to the 1992 film and tells the urban legend of the ghost of a murdered son of a slave, and if someone repeats “Candyman” five times in front of a mirror, that will summon the hook-handed killer. In the film, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Anthony McCoy, an artist inspired by the Candyman mythology, who is unaware of his connection to the angry killer and accidentally summons him.
Unlike the 1992 version, the new version features a Black creative team, including Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele.
Due to Covid-19, Candyman was delayed by more than a year and premiered amid concerns about the delta variant’s influence on moviegoers.
“We made ‘Candyman’ to be seen in theaters,” said DaCosta. “Not just for the spectacle but because the film is about community and stories how they shape each other, how they shape us. It’s about the collective experience of trauma and joy, suffering and triumph, and the stories we tell around it.”
DaCosta, 31, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Harlem. DaCosta was always interested in film and would research 1970s films where she found inspiration in directors such as Martin Scorsese. Citing Scorsese as a top inspiration, DaCosta enrolled at his alma mater, New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
After finishing school and working as a TV production assistant, She wrote and directed the crime thriller film, Little Woods, winning the Nora Ephron Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.
In August 2020, DaCosta was hired to direct the upcoming movie The Marvels, making her the youngest filmmaker to direct a Marvel film, beating the record set by Ryan Coogler. The film is set to release in November 2022.