It took 23 years to make and George Lucas had to fund production, advertising and distribution himself but ‘Red Tails’ had a strong opening this weekend.

Lucas’ film that chronicles WWII’s African-American Tuskegee airmen was rejected by all seven major film studios because they said they didn’t know how to advertise a film with an entire cast of all black leads and that it wouldn’t make money abroad. But so far box office numbers are proving there is an audience for a film in which all the protagonists are black.

“The strong debut came out of 2,512 theaters, which gave Red Tails a hefty $7,604 per theater average, the second-best in the Top 20,” reports Entertainment Weekly.

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