Yes, the hype is real. Black Panther, the long-awaited Marvel film directed by Ryan Coogler dominated the box office this past weekend.
Headlined by a remarkable cast including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Forest Whitaker, Black Panther shattered estimates to secure $201.7 million in North America, making it the fifth-largest opening of all time.
And it’s not just initial audience hype inflating the numbers, either. Black Panther has received glowing reviews across the board, evidenced by its 97% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
There’s been an ongoing conversation in Hollywood about diversity in filmmaking. Recent social media campaigns have lamented the lack of people of color in Oscar-worthy films, leading to some high-profile abstentions from awards shows. Black Panther’s success over the weekend is an extremely positive moment for those who appreciate fantastic films and would like to see greater diversity in casting.
Comic books have long been a medium for inclusivity, and now that appears to be translating into major motion pictures.
Michael B. Jordan has long been one of my favorite “up-and-coming” actors. From his younger days as Wallace in The Wire to his gut-wrenching portrayal of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station—also directed by Coogler—so seeing the global recognition he’s receiving for his performance is personally satisfying.
So if you’ve got some free time this week—go see Black Panther. You won’t be disappointed.