'Candyman' 's Nia DaCosta Becomes First Black Female Director to Debut at Top U.S. Box Office Spot

Candyman — which is a reboot of the 1992 movie of the same name — netted over $22 million in its initial domestic weekend

Nia DaCosta
Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty

Nia DaCosta, the director behind the recently released horror film Candyman, made history over the weekend.

On Monday, Universal Pictures announced DaCosta, 31, had become the first Black female director to see her film debut in the top spot at the domestic box office. Candyman — dubbed as a "spiritual sequel" of the 1992 movie of the same name — netted over $22 million in its premiere domestic weekend, per Box Office Mojo.

DaCosta's feat also marks the second highest-grossing three-day domestic box office opening for a Black female director — a record currently held by Ava DuVernay for 2018's A Wrinkle in Time.

The filmmaker, who also co-wrote Candyman with Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, is currently working on the follow-up to 2019's Captain Marvel, titled The Marvels, which she will direct for Marvel Studios with a release date of Nov. 11, 2022.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and director Nia DaCosta on the set of Candyman.
Parrish Lewis/Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures

The original '90s film, from writer/director Bernard Rose and based on Clive Barker's 1986 short story "The Forbidden," introduced the world to the horror of Candyman.

Being the first Candyman film with all Black leads and a story that spotlights the very real horrors of racism, DaCosta was the perfect choice to co-write and direct the new chapter. Under her direction, the new film explores the myth of Candyman — a Black man who was tortured and killed for falling in love with a white woman — in a new light.

"I think that's what's really beautiful about our re-imagining of this story," star Teyonah Parris recently told PEOPLE. "... There's empathy. I think you leave our Candyman feeling more empathy and humanizing the character and asking questions."

Speaking with The New York Times for an interview published on Monday, DaCosta chatted about the pressure surrounding the highly-anticipated project. "The pressure can be so distracting and overwhelming, and it can stop you from doing well and consume the process," she explained. "And, probably to a fault, I can be a bit self-deprecating."

But DaCosta also told the outlet that working alongside Peele, 42, was an experience like no other. "I was really excited because Jordan Peele was co-writer and a producer — no-brainer. So, I felt really safe in the process because I'm a huge fan of his," she said.

Candyman is now playing in theaters.

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