Whatever your take, it’s got people talking – and watching.
Quentin Tarantino’s controversial “Django Unchained,” filmed in part at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Placerita Canyon, opened Christmas Day and grossed $15 million – said to be the biggest-ever Christmas Day haul for an R-rated film.
It grossed $33 million in its first three days, putting it in the No. 3 position. That’s not shabby, considering No. 1 is “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and No. 2 is “Les Misérables.”
“Django” is rated “R” for Tarantino’s typical, over-the-top violence and language, including an estimated 110 uses of the N-word.
It stars Jamie Foxx as freed slave who is trained as a bounty hunter, then sets out to rescue his wife from a cruel Mississippi plantation owner.
Tarantino immediately drew heat from director Spike Lee, who said on Twitter: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them” (by steering clear of the film).
Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a house slave to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, came to Tarantino’s defense, calling it entertainment and describing it as “essentially a spaghetti Western exploitation movie with some Hong Kong overtones.”
Tarantino called Lee’s criticism ridiculous.
“It would be one thing if people are out there saying, ‘You use (the N-word) much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi,'” Tarantino said in a published interview. “Well, nobody’s saying that. And if you’re not saying that, you’re simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest. I don’t want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.”