After raking in $5.7 million over the holiday weekend,
"Soul Plane" appeared to stall at the theaters to the glee of critics,
but its defenders claim people are taking the imagery far too seriously.
The movie, which was shot on a budget of $16.5
million, drew harsh criticism from various African-American watch groups, as
well as prominent movie critics.
"Instead of talent, 'Soul Plane's' short
attention span director [Jesse] Terrero tries to make up for it with volume
in racially charged jokes – a few inspired, most expired," scathed
Edwardo Jackson of popular e-zine The Reel Deal. "Terrero's flashy showy
extended music video has drowned us with stupidity."
Terrero defend himself against critics and said
that the movie was simply meant to be taken in the same context as the classic
70’s comedy "Airplane!" and "Saturday Night Live."
"I'm part of Generation X, part of the hip-hop
culture, and I just wanted to make a good comedy for my generation," Terrero
told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't see this as a movie about race; it's
a movie about class."
Terrero said that the movie contained less jokes,
after he decided to cut them down. Peter Adee, a high ranking MGM executive
also defended the film.
"First and foremost, this is a comedy that
is an equal-opportunity offender," Peter Adee, MGM's President of Worldwide
Marketing said. "It takes shots at everyone."
Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the National Alliance
for Positive Action President said the offenses weren’t funny, especially
the ones that deal in racial pigeonholing.
"The rejection of Soul Plane is a wake-up
call to MGM and film industry executives, and those black writers, directors,
and actors that lend their name and talent to racially degrading films that
they can no longer make a fast buck profit in perpetuating vile and insulting
film stereotypes,” said Hutchinson.