Django Unchained News Update: Box Office Figures, History Lessons, Great Interviews & More

Don’t forget to post your thoughts about Django Unchained in our Open Thread!

Django Unchained took in $15 million on Christmas Day, putting it at #2 behind Les Miserables ($18.2 million). The Hobbit came in at #3 with $11.3 million. This makes Django Unchained the fifth highest-grossing Christmas release.

Quentin Tarantino has a streaming, track-by-track commentary of the Django Unchained soundtrack on the official website available through January 2nd. Worth listening to if you have the time.

Slate has an excellent commentary comparing Django Unchained to blaxploitation westerns from the 70s like The Legend of Nigger Charley trilogy (which is available for free on Youtube). I added a few new movies to my “To Watch” list after reading this one.

Slate also has an excellent article about the history of Mandingo fighting.

Did the U.S. have anything like this form of gladiatorial combat?

No. While slaves could be called upon to perform for their owners with other forms of entertainment, such as singing and dancing, no slavery historian we spoke with had ever come across anything that closely resembled this human version of cock fighting. As David Blight, the director of Yale’s center for the study of slavery, told me: One reason slave owners wouldn’t have pitted their slaves against each other in such a way is strictly economic. Slavery was built upon money, and the fortune to be made for owners was in buying, selling, and working them, not in sending them out to fight at the risk of death.

The Root has a great interview with Quentin Tarantino about race issues and the use of the word “nigger” in the film. Hear what he had to say in response to Spike Lee’s recent criticism:

Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Spike Lee’s on your ass all the time about using the word “nigger.” What would you say to black filmmakers who are offended by the use of the word “nigger” and/or offended by the depictions of the horrors of slavery in the film?

Quentin Tarantino: Well, you know if you’re going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you’re going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you’re going see some things that are going be ugly. That’s just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land.

Personally, I find [the criticism]ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, “You use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi.” Well, nobody’s saying that. And if you’re not saying that, you’re simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest.

No, I don’t want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.

The Root has some other great articles about Django Unchained: Tarantino Unchained Pt. 1,  Tarantino Unchained Pt. 3, and Django Unchained: A Postracial Epic?

Collider has a video interview up with the cast of Django Unchained. Here they are Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, Christoph Waltz, and Walton Goggins. Walton Goggins might want to check out his interview with Crave Online, too.

Esquire magazine argues that Django Unchained is a better film about slavery than Lincoln.

It was inevitable that someone would make a Django Unchained / Blazing Saddles mashup.

The New York Times published its review of Django Unchained.

Samuel L. Jackson talks about deleted scenes in Django Unchained as well as playing the “Dick Cheney of Candyland.”

The free $2 Amazon MP3 credit at Fandango expires soon! Make sure you get your ticket orders in before it goes away.

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