Why Black Panther's Record-Breaking Box Office Weekend Matters

Photo: Courtesy of Marvel Studios.
Did you see Black Panther in theaters over the weekend? If so, you weren't alone — lots of people saw the film, some going multiple times, in record-breaking numbers. Black Panther debuted on President's Day weekend, and it smashed predictions like T'Challa fighting off Killmonger's coup for the throne.
Let's get straight to the numbers. Variety reports that Black Panther has become the fifth-highest grossing opening of all time, behind movies like the Star Wars franchise and Jurassic Park. The film has brought in a cool $201 million in just three days, which means it has already made back its $200 million budget. It's a huge boost from its initial projections of a $100 million debut weekend, which isn't too shabby either. It's the second-highest debut by a Marvel film, second only the Marvel's The Avengers. Black Panther is also the highest-grossing debut film by a Black director ever. A hearty Wakanda cheer to Ryan Coogler for that incredible accomplishment.
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In terms of other Marvel films, Black Panther has blown away the competition within the Marvel Universe. Age of Ultron, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Civil War have all been left in the dust by T'Challa and his band of warriors, leaving only The Avengers with a higher opening weekend gross. Hopefully, Marvel will get the message loud and clear: Black Panther is your newest flagship superhero franchise.
Obviously, it's tremendously important to note that a film directed by a Black director, starring some of the best Black actors in Hollywood doesn't just interest moviegoers, it brings them out in droves. Diversity sells. Audiences are hungry for movies that reflect themselves, their communities, and the stories that they love. In a few years, we're going to look back at how Black Panther was a cultural force that caused a shift in thinking: movies featuring diverse casts are just as beloved and make just as much money. Hire diverse writers, give budgets to diverse directors, cast diverse actors, and studios will be rewarded for their efforts.
Twitter's celebrated Black Panther's astounding success as only it can: with memes and jokes that make you want to smash that like button over and over.
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