Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation was meant to take the box office and award circuit over by storm. But controversies tied to Parker’s 1999 rape trial and a press run full of missteps have steered away many of its potential viewers. As a matter of fact, the film didn’t even come close to meeting box office expectations.

The Birth of a Nation made its national debut this past weekend and only brought in $7.1 million and came in sixth place at the box office. It was initially predicted to make $10 million, according to Jezebel.

[Related: Nate Parker Criticized As Details About 1999 Rape Trial Resurface]

“This movie with its strong themes of uprising arrives at a very interesting time in our country,” an anonymous studio executive told Deadline. “Without the filmmakers’ controversies, it’s a story many would feel compelled to see. And it’s a shame that’s not happening.”

Many fans had to make the deeply personal decision of whether they’d support the film or not. For some, it was a matter of choosing between endorsing a film about black history or holding someone accountable for a past assault and a clear benefit of the flaws in the justice system.

Photo Credit: YouTube

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