Written by Matt Gemmer. Media by Hengyi Chi.
To say that “Black Panther” did well at the box office in its debut weekend would be an understatement. To take that understatement a step further and state that “Black Panther” crushed the box office wouldn’t be surprising either, and yet that’s exactly what happened.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story of Marvel’s latest blockbuster.
In addition to shattering box office records, “Black Panther” also destroyed the belief that movies related to black culture do not do well on a global scale. Ticket sales globally earned “Black Panther” a cool $387 million in its opening weekend, and naturally, that number will continue to rise. Director Ryan Coogler’s flick is now the highest-grossing movie ever by a black director with a predominately black cast. “Black Panther” easily beat the previous winner, “Straight Outta Compton” which made approximately $214 million globally a little over two years ago.
Although Coogler anticipated the box office success, he was perhaps stunned at how well his third film did globally. And “Black Panther” hasn’t even been released in China, Japan, and Russia yet.
Domestically speaking, the film exceeded the hype and made more money than what was projected. Experts estimated “Black Panther” would reel in about $165 million in North America, yet it totaled approximately $218 million. If one were to travel back in time and tell the producers that “Black Panther” would bring in $165 million on its opening weekend, they would have been thrilled to hear that. Especially when considering the fact that movies simply do not do as well in the January and February months. Yet “Black Panther” brought in $218 million, surpassing “Deadpool” (which brought in about $159 million in its opening weekend) as the new February record-holder.
Junior Johnny Milabu commented, “I do believe the hype leading up to the movie was fueled by the lack of movies glorifying Black culture. ‘Black Twitter’ has been preparing for the release of this movie since we first heard it was coming out. This one felt a little different for Black people. It was the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that there was a black character as the lead role. The Black Panther isn’t the typical superhero we are used to seeing. First and foremost he is the King and protector of Wakanda.”
Audiences and critics alike have adopted a special appreciation for “Black Panther.” Not only is it the highest rated Marvel Cinematic Universe movie on Rotten Tomatoes at a stunning 97%, but audiences who saw the movie gave it an A+, according to the CinemaScore exit polls.
When asked in an interview about the hype of this particular Marvel film, Coogler replied, “The concept of an African story, with actors of African descent at the forefront, combined with the scale of modern franchise filmmaking, is something that hasn’t really been seen before. You feel like you’re getting the opportunity of seeing something fresh, being a part of something new, which I think all audiences want to experience regardless of whether they are of African descent or not.”
Director for the National Association of Theater Owners, Phil Contrino, stated, “Hopefully someday we’ll look back at the release of ‘Black Panther’ as the turning point when diversity and positive representation in blockbusters switched from being an anomaly to being normal.”
Not only has Black Panther shattered box office records, it has demolished the myth that movies rooted in Black culture cannot do well globally and has provided hope that minorities will find themselves cast in big-budget movies playing big-time roles.