Is Red Tails soaring to box office glory?

George Lucas’s passion project for over twenty years, Red Tails, finally hit theaters on January 20.

Although it didn’t come in at #1 at the box office, according to many pundits the film did very well, and could keep flying to glory. In fact, many of the trades used the term “soaring” when describing Red Tail’s performance.

The number one movie of the weekend was Underworld: Evolution, and according to Box Office Mojo, Red Tails’s reported $19.1 million take was “very respectable.”

And although it didn’t get good reviews, Red Tails got an A+ on CinemaScore for audiences “below 18 and above 50.” Deadline reported, “Hollywood studios were stunned by how well Red Tails did in matinees Friday,” and the Hollywood Reporter called its performance “better than expected.”

Entertainment Weekly asked, “Will George Lucas’ $100 Million Gamble Pay Off?,” and writer Christian Blauvelt noted, “If [Red Tails] performs anything like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Lucas might just break even.” 

Several prominent African Americans in Hollywood were also stoked that Lucas championed this story. EW reported that Spike Lee, Oprah and Tyler Perry really liked the film, and are urging people to see it. Lee tweeted, “WAKE UP! We Gotta Mobilize To Show Up This Opening Weekend For RED TAILS. Ya Dig? Sho-Nuff.”

Perry also stated in his newsletter, “I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African-Americans, but all of us… George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.” 

And, big surprise here, a sequel and prequel are planned, with Lucas saying he wants Lee Daniels to direct the prequel, while Spike Lee helms the sequel.