Setting aside the perceived snub of "Selma" in the Oscars nominations last week, director Ava DuVernay and producer Oprah Winfrey joined their cast and crew to march alongside local residents of Selma, Ala., on Sunday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Selma" dramatizes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) in 1965 as he organizes and leads a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and on Sunday cast members taking to the streets included Oyelowo and Winfrey, who tweeted, "Happy Super Soul Sunday every 1. We're in Selma celebrating @SelmaMovie. How cool is that!"
Singer-songwriter John Legend, who won the Golden Globe for original song with Common for the "Selma" song "Glory," also took to social media to promote the march. The artists performed the song with the Tuskegee University Gospel Choir on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
"In Selma, Alabama. Meet at City Hall at 4pm and March with us #Glory #MarchOn," he posted with a photo of the bridge on Instagram.
Paramount also announced last week that 275,000 middle and high school students would receive free tickets to see the film in 25 locations across the U.S., including Los Angeles.
"We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary effort to bring this poignant and timeless American story to the diverse students of Los Angeles," said Debra Martin Chase, chief executive of Martin Chase Productions, and T. Warren Jackson, senior vice president and associate general counsel and chief ethics officer of DirecTV, which organized the efforts in Los Angeles.
The film, which cost about $20 million to make, has pulled in about $26 million since its limited release on Christmas Day. It earned an A-plus on CinemaScore and wide praise from critics.
"It's a really incredible movie, because it's playing so well in so many diverse places and has all of these organic grass-roots energy around it," Megan Colligan, president of domestic marketing and distribution, told The Times last week. "It's big cities, it's small cities -- it's touching people all over."
Colligan said one passionate fan in Louisiana reached out to Paramount asking if she could screen “Selma” at the local gym because there was no theater within 50 miles of town.
“The historical drama is a tough nut to crack to make it entertaining and inspiring, and I think Ava DuVernay figured out how to do that,” Colligan said.