— by CRAIG SMITH —
“Black Panther” is breaking records already, and looks sure to keep on. This film is also hopefully going to lead to an all-important shift in Hollywood.
It looks like “Black Panther” may be Marvel’s biggest blockbuster yet. The studio’s eagerly-anticipated adventure is already managing to break records, and the best news is that “Black Panther” being successful may well lead to a much-needed, major shift in the workings of Hollywood.
Box office benchmarks are getting reset
Similarly to how punters react when a new online pokies NZ offering is rumoured to become available, the world is clamouring for the release of the hotly-anticipated Ryan Coogler “Black Panther” solo film.
The upcoming spectacle broke the first of what will probably be a great number of records this week when it outsold “Captain America: Civil War” in order to become the most pre-ordered film in its first 24 hours of availability in Marvel’s history. This could certainly become the biggest release to date, as well – which is saying something when you take into account that it is the most lucrative movie factory currently releasing them.
What is at the bottom of the Black Panther fever?
It doesn’t require that much industry expertise to figure out why there is such a fever running for “Black Panther.” The past number of years have rendered the buying power of black audiences a fact impossible to deny, no matter how deeply studio executives wish to bury their heads in the sand.
There are more and more expressions of black success in Hollywood than ever before. An attention-grabbing Oscar win managed to push the modest indie release “Moonlight” up to a worldwide gross of $65 million, while 2017 saw “Get Out” break records with $245 million, “Hidden Figures” soaring up to $235 million, and the fun “Girls Trip” managing to rake in $139 million.
A more powerful market for black talent
There is certainly a market for original films featuring black talent on both sides of the camera these days. It is increasing every day, and reviewers agree.
From the earliest stages of the conception for “Black Panther,” for example, right on through to the advertising for the film this production has been open up its cultural heritage. The personnel that has been attached to the movie is a testament to the commitment of both Coogler and Marvel to head up a spectacle of spandex. And they have managed to pull together an almost entirely back cast, ranging from stars like Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, to those still upcoming, like Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira. Coogler also handed the film’s soundtrack reigns to Kendrick Lamar, with Coogler stating that Lamar’s artistic themes are aligned with those that get explored in the film.
An interesting plot for Black Panther
The “Black Panther” plot concerns colonialism’s creeping tendrils, which threaten to pierce the secluded kingdom of Wakanda, and the battle lines between global assimilation and traditionalism being drawn.
Even more exciting is that a movie probably running with a budget extending into the hundreds of millions of dollars has been informed by Afrofuturist style: the costumes, designed by Ruth Carter, have split the difference between the standard cape-and-tights getup and the traditional garb of the Himba, Basotho, Masai, Tuareg, and Dogon people.
No matter what, “Black Panther” is going to be a great watch.
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