The much-anticipated “Black Panther” has smashed box office records in its opening weekend and promises to make history.
The Afro-superhero film which premiered in movie theatres in South Africa on Friday (16 February) caused quite a stir. Many proudly rocked their traditional attires and their best interpretation of African superhero clothing and took to local cinemas in numbers, even selling some out.
At the night of its Johannesburg premiere, American-based stars Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya) and Danai Gurira (Zimbabwe) joined local fans at a red carpet screening.
South African actors John Kani, Connie Chiume and Atandwa Kani are also part of the cast which includes a number of high-profile actors such as Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman and Forest Whittaker. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler who is the first black director to direct a Marvel movie and this film is Marvel’s first movie with predominantly black cast.
According to comScore, the movie made an estimated $200 million in the US over the weekend while global ticket sales are estimated to bring in close to $387 million globally by Monday. Black Panther instantly became the top-grossing movie in history by a black director.
In Africa, “Black Panther” set records with the biggest opening weekend of all time in both East Africa and West Africa. In South Africa, it was the highest grossing Saturday ever in industry history.
“Black Panther” follows T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the technologically advanced African nation to take his rightful place as king. A South African language, IsiXhosa is the official language of Wakanda, the fictional East African nation.
African musicians, Babes Wudumo, Sjava, Yugen Blakrok and Saudi also showed off their talent on the movie’s soundtrack, which made its debut on the Billboard 100 Chart.
“Black Panther” has been seen by many as an important tool in renewing a sense of pride in the global Black community.
By Thulile Gama