Hollywood film starring Kenyan actress Lupita Nyongo opens strong

Actress Angela Bassett poses with honoree Lupita Nyong’o in the press room during the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Hollywood film “12 years a slave” featuring Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o opened last Friday to a strong performance in limited cities across the US. PHOTO/AFP

Hollywood film “12 years a slave” featuring Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o opened last Friday to a strong performance in limited cities across the US.

The limited release had the film showing in 19 theatres in what is referred to as a theatrical debut, playing to both art house audiences and African-Americans.

The eagerly awaited film grossed an average of $50,526 (Sh4.3m) per theatre which is one of the highest averages for a movie in the US opening in such a low number of theatres.

“Gravity” the 3D Sci-Fi thriller which is currently the top movie in the US grossed an average of $7,861 (Sh668,000) in over 3,000 theatres countrywide over the same weekend. It has however scooped $169,563,291 (Sh14.4b) in just three weeks.

Many Kenyans across various American cities will have to wait until November 1 when the film makes its national debut.

Many are eagerly awaiting the film to watch Ms Nyong’o performance which has turned her into the newly minted celebrity in the country.


Excitement amongst Kenyans is hitting a new high as journalists and movie critics gush over her performance.

“She is Lupita Nyong’o. It’s a name many Americans will struggle to pronounce, but her performance in a powerful new movie about slavery, will be hard to forget,” said Ron Claiborne of ABC News as he introduced a segment of last Sunday’s “Sunday’s Segment”.

In its first weekend, the film played in select theaters across Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta and Toronto, Canada.
On Friday October 25, the film will open in six other cities namely, Boston, Dallas/Fortworth, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Many critics the limited release as a blessing for the movie as many other new releases and being overshadowed by “Gravity” as it makes a push for its case for the Oscar awards.

The film also debuted this weekend at the 57th BFI London Film Festival in UK. The Odeon Leicester Square and the Odeon West End screened the film on October 18 and 19 respectively.


After the end of the screening, many critics reported that many journalists broke into applause while others shed tears quietly. Many sad faced movie goers stayed seated even as the credits rolled.

“(When the movie ended) the crowd of journalists broke into applause; some had been quietly crying. When we turned around to leave, many stayed in their seats, solemn faces illuminated in the dark room as the credits rolled. Normally, critics immediately start to yammer about their impressions – highs, pitfalls, whether it was too long, etc. Today they were eerily silent.-GQ Magazine reported.-nation

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