Black Panther has a “fan girl” in First Lady Michelle Obama who has commended the movie over the weekend for its positive portrayal of people of color and for doing it for the culture.
“Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team! Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen,” Michelle Obama tweeted.
“I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories,” she added.
The movie, named for the first black comic book superhero (created in 1966 by Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby) is the 18th film to be spawned from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The high-octane film tells the gripping story of T’Challa who, after the death of his father returns home to his technologically advanced African nation to take his rightful place on the throne as the king of Wakanda. Tested by powerful outside forces and a dangerous enemy, T’Challa must fight for the fate of his beloved country and the entire world.
Michelle Obama is not the only one cheering on the Marvel blockbuster which has smashed Hollywood’s expectations, topping out with a staggering $168.7 million in 48 markets through Sunday, according to Deadline.com. And when Monday’s number are tabulated, it’s expected to rise to $400M globally, making Black Panther the highest grossing movie of all time.
Black Panther racked up records since even before it debuted. On Fandango, the ticket-selling website, the movie was the fastest-selling first-quarter film for pre-sales.
The movie also broke a record on the popular film review site Rotten Tomatoes where the film debuted to a perfect 100 percent fresh score. That makes it the highest debut for a Marvel superhero film to date, according to the Daily Dot. With a current 98 percent “want to watch” score as well, the movie is riding high at the boxoffice.
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.
Celebs accept the #BlackPantherChallenge
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.”
“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.”
Sheryl Underwood bought out a theater on Saturday with snacks to support kids who could not have otherwise gotten a chance to see the movie, she said on her CBS show, The Talk.