When Judas And The Black Messiah director Shaka King first started pitching the movie around, he thought it would be a smash. He was working with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, after all, and had great talent attached. Instead, as he told Questlove during a recent Sundance conversation, things went another direction. As he put it:
“I’d think we’d walk into a bidding war situation, and all of the studios that we pitched to minus Warner Bros. just really came in and lowballed us in terms of what they were willing to give us to make a movie like this because they thought it wasn’t worth enough. They thought it wouldn’t … make enough money based upon the algorithms that they came up with that are totally ridiculous.”
In the clip above, The A.V. Club talks to King about his struggle against Hollywood’s old guard, and his palpable excitement now that he’s definitively able to point to Judas’ good press, awards buzz, and promising reviews as proof that algorithms actually have pretty shitty taste. He’s ready to gloat, and he’s not afraid to do it with pride.