Just Mercy opened in limited release on Christmas day and got off to a strong start.
The death row drama brought in $80,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, according to box office tracking company Exhibitor Relations. The film averaged an impressive $20,000 per location.
The Warner Bros. release follows the true story of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), a black man wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman in rural Alabama.
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Attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) fights to prove McMillian’s innocence and save him from the electric chair, while going up against systematic racism and threats of violence for challenging the system.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Just Mercy is based on Stevenson’s bestselling memoir by the same name. The film also stars Brie Larson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Tim Blake Nelson, and Karan Kendrick.
The drama has won several critics awards, and recently earned Foxx a SAG nomination in the best supporting actor category. On Jan. 2, the Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Foxx with its Spotlight Award for his role in the film.
“This is an inspiring drama that brings an important story about how our justice system can fail to the big screen,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner in a press release. “It is a story that audiences should see.”
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Jordan serves as a producer on the film. In an August interview with Urban Hollywood 411 at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Miami, Jordan said he wanted to make the movie to raise awareness about inequities in the criminal justice system.
“I wanted to stand on the right side of history. I want to do my part,” he explained. “The power of movies, the power of storytelling makes people look at someone, look at a group of people that they might not have empathy for, they might not have compassion for, they might not know, and change their mind, change the way they think, change the way they feel.”
After its Oscars qualifying run, Just Mercy will go nationwide on Friday, Jan. 10.