Which Black Director is Most Boffo at the Box Office: Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, John Singleton, or Keenan Ivory Wayans?

When a movie makes a lot of money in its theatrical release, they say it’s “boffo at the box office.”

The four most prominent black directors of the past 10-15 years are Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, John Singleton, and Keenan Ivory Wayans. Which of these four has had the most success at the box office?

I went to two sites that provide box office informtion by director: Box Office Mojo and The Numbers. The two sites differ slightly in the numbers they report. When there were differences, I took the average of the two sites.

Here are the box office numbers for the four directors.

Spike Lee
Tyler Perry
John Singleton
Keenan Wayans

Total Box Office





Average Box Office





In total, John Singleton has been the most successful in total box office, but Keenan Ivory Wayans has done the best on average.

These numbers reflect the domestic box office only. Foreign box office and rental numbers are not included, as they are harder to get. If I can find the time, I might go back and update this post with foreign and rental sales information.

These are the movies for each director, and their domestic box office:

Spike Lee Movies

If Lee’s numbers were adjusted for inflation, they’d look better compared to the other directors. But even so, it’s clear that Lee is not a big money maker. Only one of his films, Inside Man, did over $50 million at the box office.

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