Black Panther Trailer thegrio.com
(Video still via Marvel Entertainment)

Black Panther’s release is already making history with the all-black cast debuting at $25.2 million in theaters last night. According to the NY Daily News, Marvel’s Black Panther is already putting up heroic numbers at the box office. The movie’s success is a close second behind Avengers: Age of Ultron which earned $27.5 million when it debuted in 2015.

The film was already positioned to exceed everyone’s expectations when Fandango confirmed that only three films ever had outsold it in pre-sales. But it did more than surpass expectations, becoming the top-selling pre-sales superhero movie in Fandango history.

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Black Panther is the 18th of Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the first to highlight a black superhero. The all-star black cast includes iconic actors Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya and Angela Bassett.

Hollywood analysts are already projecting that the movie could break records with a $200 million opening weekend.

Marvel’s big investment

The studio invested a sizable budget into this movie, according to Marvel president Kevin Feige who spoke with Vulture about the movie’s impact. “It’s a big story that deserves to be told in a big way, for all cultural and political reasons that people talk about, but also because it’s such a key corner of our Marvel universe, and has been for decades and decades. We wanted to do it justice, and we have a studio with Disney and leaders with Alan Horn and Bog Iger, who supported us a hundred percent.”

Feige told Vulture he also believes the representation that Black Panther can provide for underserved audiences is very important.

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“It’s something that’s easy to take for granted, growing up in the United States as a white male, that my cinematic heroes look like me,” said Feige. “I never thought they looked exactly like me, because I’m not a big athletic hero, but they do. It’s something that over the course of these ten years, having a certain amount of power over what type of movies are made and what type of actors we hire, I want everybody to have that feeling. We don’t take it for granted that people want to see themselves reflected in our heroes and our characters. That’s been the case in the comics for years, and, finally, that’s the case in the movies, and will only continue from here.”

Stars support Black Panther

The #BlackPantherChallenge, in which people step forward to help underserved communities and children see the biggest movie of the year, started with Frederick Joseph. He launched a GoFundMe campaign to help Harlem kids see Black Panther and the campaign exceeded its $10,000 goal within three days.

“I want these children to be able to see that people who look like them can be superheroes, royalty, and more,” said Joseph. “All proceeds will go to paying for the private screening tickets for children and chaperones, as well as refreshments. The release of the film is February 16th, 2018, and the screenings will take place the following week between February 19th and 22nd.”

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Rapper TI, teamed up with Walmart to give out tickets to Black Panther in the Atlanta area, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Me and @Walmart joined efforts to support the community with free tickets for customers to attend an Advance Screening of @MarvelStudios @theblackpanther. We gave away 300 tickets to deserving families yesterday at the Cascade Walmart store. #BlackPanther,” T.I. tweeted on Tuesday.

Snoop Dogg and Viola Davis have also stepping up to the plate.

Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, known as “Little Miss Flint,” also took on the challenge. She and her cousins set up a GoFundMe page to help marginalized children in their community go to see the Marvel masterpiece.

And recently, Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer bought out an entire movie theater in Mississippi to give the community a chance to see Black Panther.

“I will be in [Mississippi] when this movie opens,” Spencer wrote on Instagram. “I think I will buy out a theatre in an underserved community there to ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero. I will let you know where and when Mississippi. Stay tuned.”