Favorite Top Box Office Black Directors

by urbanemovies | created - 02 Feb 2016 | updated - 15 Aug 2019 | Public

Each February in the USA, we recognize black achievements during Black History Month. These directors are among the highest career box office earners adjusted for inflation.

Which select and influential top box office* grossing black director is your personal favorite? *USA total box office totals and top film gross are inflation adjusted

Black History Month Companion Polls Celebrated Black-Led Movies : Top Black-Directed Movies : Top Grossing Black Directors : Black Multimedia Superheroes

Cast your vote here or Discuss the topic here.

1. Tim Story

Director | Fantastic Four

Timothy Kevin Story was born on March 13, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. Attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California with jazz pianist Eric Reed and actresses Regina King and Nia Long. Graduated from USC film school.

2. Tyler Perry

Writer | Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a ...

3. John Singleton

Writer | Boyz n the Hood

Son of Danny Singleton, a mortgage broker, and Sheila Ward, a pharmaceutical company sales executive, and raised in separate households by his unmarried parents, John Singleton attended the Film Writing Program at USC, after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three ...

4. F. Gary Gray

Director | Set It Off

Felix Gary Gray is an African-American music video director, film producer and film director from New York City known for directing films such as Friday, Men in Black: International, Be Cool, The Fate of the Furious, Set It Off, The Negotiator, Straight Outta Compton and The Italian Job. He ...

5. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

6. Antoine Fuqua

Producer | The Magnificent Seven

Antoine Fuqua is an American film director, known for his work in the film Training Day as well as The Replacement Killers, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer.

He has directed music videos for such artists as Arrested Development, Prince, ...

7. Keenen Ivory Wayans

Writer | White Chicks

The trail-blazing linchpin of a sprawling family dynasty of comic entertainers, it was multi-talented writer/director/producer Keenen Ivory Wayans (born June 8, 1958, in New York City) who led the familial pack and was the first to achieve national prominence when he successfully created, launched,...

8. Sidney Poitier

Actor | Lilies of the Field

Sidney Poitier was a native of Cat Island, Bahamas, although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents, Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier. He grew up in poverty as the son of farmers, with his father also driving a cab in Nassau. Sidney had little formal ...

9. Michael Schultz

Director | Cooley High

Michael Schultz was born on November 10, 1938 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Cooley High (1975), Car Wash (1976) and Krush Groove (1985). He has been married to Lauren Jones since December 6, 1965. They have two children.

10. Thomas Carter

Director | Coach Carter

Thomas Carter was born on July 17, 1953 in Austin, Texas, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Coach Carter (2005), Equal Justice (1990) and Save the Last Dance (2001).

11. Malcolm D. Lee

Director | Girls Trip

Malcolm D. Lee was born on January 11, 1970 in the USA. He is a director and producer, known for Girls Trip (2017), The Best Man (1999) and The Best Man Holiday (2013). He has been married to Camilla Banks since 2000. They have three children.

12. Allen Hughes

Director | The Book of Eli

Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was ...

13. Albert Hughes

Director | The Book of Eli

Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was ...

14. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to...

15. Carl Franklin

Director | One False Move

Carl Franklin studied history and dramatic arts at UC Berkeley. After several years as a television actor with guest shots, roles in TV movies, miniseries, and appearing as a regular on a few unsuccessful series, he returned to school and received his master's degree in directing from the American ...

16. Bill Duke

Actor | Predator

Duke Media Entertainment, led by actor, director, producer, writer and humanitarian, Bill Duke, is dedicated to bringing quality Edutainment to audiences around the globe. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than...

17. Lee Daniels

Producer | Precious

Lee Daniels gave his parents an early Christmas present when he entered the world on December 24, 1959; unfortunately, the Philadelphia native was to have a difficult relationship with his police officer father who later reacted violently to his son's sexuality. Despite the brutality of his ...

18. Gordon Parks

Director | The Learning Tree

The pre-eminent American photojournalist of sub-Saharan descent. An acclaimed photographer for Life magazine from the late 40s through late 60s, he turned to directing films, his second of which, the blaxploitation movie Shaft (1971), achieved success at the box office. In 1989 his first film ...

19. Kevin Hooks

Actor | Innerspace

Kevin Hooks was born on September 19, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a director and producer, known for Innerspace (1987), Last Resort (2012) and Passenger 57 (1992). He is married to Cheryl. They have two children. He was previously married to Regina Hooks.

20. Ryan Coogler

Director | Black Panther

Ryan Kyle Coogler is an African-American filmmaker and producer who is from Oakland, California. He is known for directing the Black Panther film series, Creed, a Rocky spin-off and Fruitvale Station. He frequently casts Michael B. Jordan in his works. He produced the Creed sequels, Judas and the ...

21. Rick Famuyiwa

Producer | Dope

Rick Famuyiwa was born on June 18, 1973 in the USA. He is a producer and director, known for Dope (2015), The Mandalorian (2019) and The Chi (2018). He has been married to Gienita Mosley since 1999.

22. Ernest R. Dickerson

Director | Juice

Ernest Roscoe Dickerson A.S.C., aka. Ernest R. Dickerson, is an American film director and cinematographer. As a cinematographer, he is known for his frequent collaborations with Spike Lee. As a director, he is known for films such as Juice (1992), Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995), Bones (...

23. Charles Stone III

Director | Drumline

Charles Stone III was born in 1966. He is known for Drumline (2002), Mr. 3000 (2004) and Paid in Full (2002).

24. Jordan Peele

Writer | Get Out

Jordan Haworth Peele attended Sarah Lawrence College as a member of the class of 2001. His mother is white and his father is black. Jordan is married to comedian Chelsea Peretti, with whom he has a son.

He is known for co-writing and starring in the comedy Keanu (2016), opposite his close friend ...

Top Box Office Film: Get Out (2017)

Directorial Resume

Box Office Mojo Totals


Answer Option Added 28 March 2017

25. Peter Ramsey

Director | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Peter Ramsey is the director of Dreamworks Animation's 2012 feature film "Rise Of The Guardians". He also directed the Halloween TV special, "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space" as well as serving as a story artist on several of Dreamworks Animation's feature films. Prior to ...

26. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer | The Secret Life of Bees

Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball (2000) which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other directing credits include ...

27. Chris Rock

Actor | Top Five

Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher.

...

28. Melvin Van Peebles

Actor | The Shining

Melvin Van Peebles was born on August 21, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was an actor and writer, known for The Shining (1997), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) and Don't Play Us Cheap (1972). He was previously married to Maria Marx. He died on September 21, 2021 in Manhattan, New York ...

29. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

30. Steve McQueen

Director | 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen was born on October 9, 1969 in London, England, UK. He is a director and producer, known for 12 Years a Slave (2013), Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). He is married to Bianca Stigter. They have two children.

31. Paris Barclay

Producer | NYPD Blue

Paris Barclay is one of television's most successful and honored directors. Throughout his illustrious career in television, Paris has directed over160 episodes of television, including episodes of NYPD BLUE, ER, THE WEST WING, LOST, THE GOOD WIFE, CSI, SONS OF ANARCHY, HOUSE, GLEE, IN TREATMENT, ...

32. Ava DuVernay

Producer | Queen Sugar

A director, producer, writer, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This is the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which ...

Top Box Office Film: A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Directorial Resume

Box Office Mojo Totals


Answer Option Added 23 July 2017

33. Reginald Hudlin

Director | House Party

Reginald Hudlin was born on December 15, 1961 in Centerville, Illinois, USA. He is a producer and director, known for House Party (1990), Django Unchained (2012) and Marshall (2017). He has been married to Chrisette Suter since November 30, 2002. They have two children.

Top Box Office Film: Boomerang (1992)

Directorial Resume

Box Office Mojo Totals


Answer Option Added 19 February 2018

34. George C. Wolfe

Director | Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

George Wolfe was raised in the state capital of Kentucky, Frankfort. As a member of the Frankfort High School Senior class of 1972, he was one of the leading lights of the drama club and a writer for the literary magazine. George left Frankfort in 1972, but returned many years later as a favored ...

35. Robert Townsend

Producer | Hollywood Shuffle

Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, ...



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