By: Cory William Berlekamp
With another movie production in the bag, Marvel Studios watched Black Panther pull in an estimated $201.8 million during its’ first weekend in theaters. This beat out Thor: Ragnarok which made $115 million in comparison. That number does not surprise me after seeing the lines at the movie theater.
I rarely see a movie in the theaters on a weekend, let alone its opening weekend. It is too much to handle; everyone slowly makes their way through the ticket line so they can stand for another 15 minutes at concessions while picking up spilled popcorn with the soles of their shoes. This is hardly what I call a good time. Not to mention, you have to show up 40 minutes ahead of time to ensure semi-comfortable seating in the middle of the theater with all of your snacks ready to go. For Black Panther, though, I gladly ran through this gauntlet.
It was Friday night and the projections were correct; the house was packed. My friend and I decided against seeing it in 3D, but instead opted for XD, Cinemark’s version of IMAX. At the 7:15 showing, there were only 13 seats left and they were pressed up against the screen at the very front. I was happy to buy them.
Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, made his first appearance as Prince T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War. Without spoiling that movie, which came out two years ago, he punched his way in to the hearts of Marvel fans and moviegoers everywhere. Keeping in mind that some Marvel movies feel bloated at times, that there is a glossy look to all of them being doused in special effects, and that the A-list actors do their best to not look uncomfortable wearing hours of prosthetics and heavy costumes, I was ready to be immersed into the fictional country of Wakanda.
The setting of the technologically advanced African country mixed with the influence of tribal dress and African culture gave the film an authentic feel. A part of me wanted to believe that this country really exists and was not based on the comics. Captain America, the Hulk, Iron Man and Spiderman are all from America, why can’t Black Panther be from a real African country? To be clear, I do not read the comics, and understand that there is a reason that this country does not actually exist, but it was still fantastic to see the world Marvel put up on the silver screen.
Besides being a general fan of the cinematic universe Marvel has built over the years, I was especially happy to see this film. Maybe it was because of the current political and social climate, and maybe it was because I was ready to watch a stand-alone film with a character that genuinely intrigued. Hollywood has had a problem with casting primarily white people in blockbusters including roles that were in no way Caucasian. Going as far back as John Wayne playing Genghis Kahn up to Christian Bale playing Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings, we have been watching white people act instead of those from other cultures. With Black Panther, however, it was nice to see a film that was not over taken by this issue.
Overall, I will continue to still stay away from opening weekends at the movie theater, but I would be glad to see Black Panther in theaters again. Maybe next time even in 3D.