‘The Woman King’ Dilemma: How Do You Market a Female, Black African Action Drama?

Sony is opening the film in 3,000 theaters — but there’s never been a genre like this

TriStar Pictures

Sharon Waxman

Sharon Waxman On the Business of Entertainment

The founder and editor of TheWrap’s take on life on the left coast, high culture, low culture and the business of entertainment and media. Waxman writes frequently on the inside doings of Hollywood, and is is also the author of two books, Rebels on the Back Lot and Loot

When “The Woman King” opens wide this Friday in theaters, it will be seeking to break new ground with American audiences, selling a story that Hollywood has almost never seen before: a female, Black African action drama.

The dilemma for the distributor, Sony, is: How do you sell a movie without a proven audience? 

Most movies fall into clear-cut categories like action-adventure, horror, rom-com, sci-fi, thriller, comedy or drama.