Despite the absurd claim by George Lucas that Red Tails is a groundbreaking movie about race, that “white Hollywood” didn’t want him to make, the movie is actually just a remake of a 1995 version.
The movie re-invents the usually Tuskegee Airmen myths. The actually story of the Tuskegee Airmen is dramatically less grandiose. White pilots flying the same planes and the same missions had a victory rate 350% higher than the black pilots.
When you compare the records of fighter groups flying the advanced P-51 planes in the 15th Air Force, we see that white fighter groups scored 2.26 victories for every plane lost. This is 3.5 times the rate of the black fighter group.
In other words, white pilots flying the same planes and the same missions were 350% more effective. Think of this as an investment. For every dollar you invest in the black pilots yields $.66, while every dollar invested in the white pilots yields $2.26.
TABLE VII: COMPARISON OF FIFTEENTH AIR FORCE P-51 FIGHTER GROUPS
Victories per aircraft lost in combat
31st White 2.49
52nd White 2.08
325th White 2.22
332nd Black 0.66
Red Tails had a production budget of $58 million. After three weeks in theaters it has grossed $41 million. The movie end up getting about 50% of the box office gross. This means the movie is still nearly $38 million in the hole and viewers at the theater have dried up.