Producer Scott Sanders had been with the project from the get-go eight years ago, but it was the words “Oprah Winfrey Presents” that stood out above the title when “The Color Purple” finally opened Dec. 1, 2005.
“We’re viewing this as great icing on the cake,” Sanders said of such branding.
A few months earlier, the tube’s first lady had put $1 million toward the show’s $11 million capitalization. But the big news came in November, when Winfrey featured the “Purple” cast on her show; box office sales immediately jumped $2 million.
“This is really big,” Winfrey opined at the preem. “I don’t deserve any credit for this.”
Come curtain time, even novelist Alice Walker took time to give thanks: “I love you, my sister, for showing up and for showing us what it means to have a lot of power.”
Word of mouth and the Big O’s steady hyping of the show turned its $5 million advance, on the first day of previews, to its current $20 million-plus.