Black Panther: cultural phenomenon shatters records

By Divaldo Santos

One of the most anticipated movies of 2018,  Black Panther, has made its way onto the big screen, into people’s hearts, and into the record books.

In its opening week, the film broke international records for the most pre-sale tickets for a superhero movie ever and opened up to a perfect 100 percent score on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The score at the time of publication sits at 97 percent.

Some Riverside students are calling it the best superhero film they’ve seen. It also holds the title for the best critically-acclaimed superhero film of all time.

“Oh yeah, it was good. I liked the vibe of the movie.” senior Fernando Morales said.

“It was great action wise and it caught my attention with all the fights,” senior, Cuauhtemoc Dominguez said.

“I absolutely enjoyed watching Black Panther,” senior Maritza Mercado said. “It’s such a culturally rich movie with great scenes and background! I think everyone should see it.”

RHS students wait for Black Panther to begin at the Northgate Stadium 10 Theater on Feb 21.

The love for the movie has spread everywhere, with major celebrities like Atlanta rapper T.I, New York rapper Diddy and actress Octavia Spencer going as far as buying out whole theatre showings to bring the community together. Organizations around the Triangle area have raised enough money to take kids to watch the movie, providing the chance for kids to see themselves on the big screen, not in roles where tragedy and oppression play as major factors, but as a hero.

At an early premiere showing at Southpoint Mall on Feb. 14, many people wore full African tribal clothing and Black Panther-themed costumes. ABC11 covered the event and interviewed audience members. When the film ended, the crowd began to clap with joy, as if they had just seen their favorite team win a sporting event.

Riverside also sent English and African American Studies classes to see the film on Feb. 21.  Thanks to a GoFundMe page created to raise money for the trip that made $1159 in ten days, all students saw the movie for free and were treated to popcorn and drinks at the Northgate Stadium 10 movie theater.

The film takes audiences into world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dubbed the MCU, where the world wrongly looks at the nation of Wakanda as a third world country. Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the real Wakanda, the most technologically advanced, richest and isolated country in the world after the death of his father to assume the mantle of king. Upon his arrival, he is confronted by an old adversary which threatens global consequences.

During the film, scenes involving a very interesting casino brawl and a very well trained and beautiful squadron of female warriors, including Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Latitia Wright) and Nakiya (Lupita Nyong’o) drew a lot of attention from the crowd and praise.

The film received widespread praise for having a mainly black cast and crew. News outlets such as New York Times calling it a game changer.

African-American director Ryan Coogler saw major cultural impact even before the film was even released.

“This is the first project that I ever did that I felt like I had to make peace with the fact that I would never be caught up in my work,” Coogler told The New York Times in February. “I had to figure out how to let myself rest. You could work 24 hours a day and it still wouldn’t be enough on a film like this.”

The film is seen as the beginning of a possible trend of all-black film directors and casts. It was on track to make at least $150 million during its opening weekend across the United States and Canada, instead smashing records opening to a $404 million opening weekend across the world. Such a strong box office result would break another record for an African American director. The trend could shape the Hollywood movie-making businesses for years to come with a predominantly black cast and director.

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