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Last weekend, Nia DaCosta made history as the first Black woman director to debut a film at #1 at the box office. Candyman, a continuation of the horror series that originated in the early 1990s, was the #1 movie in domestic box office sales, bringing in over $22 million in tickets.

The film, written by Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, follows the story of a young artist who moves into the same neighborhood that was the setting of the original film. Throughout the last weekend in August, Candyman easily exceeded Hollywood’s expectations of a $15 million opening run. 

Ms. DaCosta’s achievements echo those of another famous Black woman director, Ava DuVernay, whose film A Wrinkle in Time scored the highest-grossing opening weekend for a movie directed by a Black woman, at $33 million. Ms. DuVernay also holds the title for the first Black woman director with a film to cross the $100 million mark.   

Only the beginning for Nia DaCosta   

Meanwhile, Ms. DaCosta’s achievement with Candyman is just the beginning for the trailblazing director. She is slated to direct the next Marvel movie, another first for a Black woman director, and will also be the youngest director ever to helm the superhero series.

In fact, it was Ms. DaCosta’s boundless talent that attracted the attention of Mr. Peele, who noted, “Nia is so extremely talented. I first became familiar with her when I saw her work in ‘Little Woods,’ which was just a beautiful and poetic drama. I loved her style. We all did.”

Little Woods, which was written by Ms. DaCosta in 2015, was chosen for a Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab, and debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018, before wide release in 2019. Like Candyman, the indie film also opened to critical acclaim.

With Candyman, Ms. DaCosta has shattered a glass ceiling, paving the way for the next generation of Black women directors. And she has no plans to slow down, immediately starting on The Marvels after finishing Candyman. “I had two weeks of vacation and then I started my next movie. I had no time to go tinkering. And no desire.”

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...