It’s the first major superhero movie with a black protagonist, a predominantly black cast, and a black director. Marvel’s Black Panther is the eighteenth film in Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, but before it even hit theaters on February 16, it had already broken records with its pre-ticket sales, beating out the previous record-holder (and fellow Marvel movie) Captain America: Civil War.
Black Panther centers around young T’Challa--the title hero as well as leader of the technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda--who returns home to a splintering country to take his rightful place as king.
The positive buzz of the highly-anticipated movie event suggested that Black Panther was more than a movie; it was a moment in cultural history. It’s already blown passed projections for its opening weekend--making an estimated $192 million in its first three days, according to Marvel parent company Disney--and simultaneously smashing box office records and film industry myths that superhero movies with predominantly black casts wouldn’t appeal to audiences.
Jill Hopkins, host of The Morning AMp on WBEZ’s sister station Vocalo
Natalie Moore, WBEZ reporter