Black Panther has not only taken the box office by storm during its opening weekend, but is inspiring movements in fashion, voting and even random acts of kindness.
The Marvel film, directed by Fruitvale Station and Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler, hit $192 million US in ticket sales in North America over the weekend.
The number, which is a preliminary estimate according to the website Box Office Mojo, makes Black Panther the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever (not accounting for inflation) behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers.
Black Panther, which had a budget of $200 million US, also beat 2016’s Deadpool to become the highest-grossing February opening weekend and has a 97 per cent fresh rating on the audience-driven Rotten Tomatoes site.
It stars Chadwick Boseman as the lead character T’Challa, alongside a predominantly black cast including Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Lupita Nyong’o.
The story revolves around the fictional, resource-rich East African nation of Wakanda.
Throughout the weekend, countless movie-goers around the world dressed in african-inspired and traditional clothing to see the film and celebrate its cultural reflections. And it’s far from superhero ” cosplay,” says Kimberly McNair, an expert in clothing and black expressive culture.
” It’s a matter of fact statement about diasporic blackness,” said the University of Southern California scholar. “You get to articulate your blackness in relation to your nationality and clothing styles specific to your location as well as African cultures. That matters.”
And it wasn’t the only way people were connecting.
Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson, who’s set to play the title role in Captain Marvel, sparked a pay-it-forward campaign online this week with a single tweet on Thursday.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and/or the ones you love is purchase some #BlackPanther tix. I know it’s expensive to go to the theater, but its worth it for this one. You will exit forever impacted.
Since then, Larson has been re-tweeting posts from around the world which have taken over her page, connecting people offering to pay for Black Panther tickets with those who might not be able to afford them.
And because the film is rife with political allusions to immigration, stereotypes and isolationism not long after U.S. President Donald Trump made derogatory comments about African nations, it’s also providing an opportunity for some to capitalize on the inspiration for change.
An American activist group called the Electoral Justice Project is using screenings to encourage registration among black voters in the U.S. by promoting the hashtag WakandaTheVote and helping set up booths outside theatres.
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