‘Sparkle’ Stumbles At Box Office, But Earns High Marks For Outshining Its Predecessor

Sparkle may not have made the box office splash that Sony Pictures Entertainment had hoped, but the remake of a 1976 blaxploitation classic is winning in other ways. The film has earned praise for its portrayal of positive, ambitious black women and for putting a new spin on the classic without cheapening it.

The movie came out to a $12 million opening weekend, which was at the low end of the industry’ expectations.

The Washington Post gave high marks to the reboot, which was written by Mara Brock Aki (The Game, Girlfriends) and directed by her husband Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom, The Game). The review noted that the new version of Sparkle is more fast-paced than the original, dropping the clunky monologues that weighed down the original.

The movie centers around three talented sisters trying to break into show business in Mot0wn-era Detroit, which shifted from the original movie’s setting in Harlem. The pair have to deal with an overbearing mother played by Whitney Houston in her final role. And earning positive reviews in her first major role is Jordin Sparks, who plays the title character Sparkle.

The Washington Post also noted that this new version of Sparkle portrays its characters in a much more ambitious light. Jordin Spark’s portrayal of Sparkle is not the innocent character originally played by Irene Cara but instead is creative and ambitious.

Sparkle could have some hope for the future, NBCNews notes. Despite the less-than-expected showing at the box office, the film did earn an A from CinemaScore, meaning it has a good chance to ride of wave of positive word-of-mouth that could help it avoid the typical second-week drop-off and lead it to a long theatrical run. And, despite its star power, Sparkle actually only cost a modest $14 million to produce.