By Michael McCurry
Marvel’s “Black Panther” continues its record-breaking streak, passing the $1 billion mark at the global box office in just 26 days.
The Ryan Coogler-directed film is the 33rd movie to reach the $1 billion box office mark as well as the 16th Disney film to do so. “Black Panther” also joins four other Marvel films at the billion-dollar milestone — the others being “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America: Civil War.”
“Black Panther” has been lauded for its diversity as a big-budget superhero blockbuster with a nearly all black cast. Set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the film stars famous actors of color including Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Michael B. Jordan.
Drew students certainly didn’t miss out on the hit action flick. On February 28, the Office of Student Engagement offered free tickets to students looking to see the film. According to Coordinator of Residential Engagement for Diversity Programs Tashir Hampton, who organized the movie night, a total of 36 students went to AMC Morristown to grab their free seat.
“As February is Black History Month, we wanted to do some programming to go along with that,” said Hampton. “Our goal is to meet students where they’re at, so we try to do things they’re interested in, and so one thing I figured is that they would be interested in going to see Black Panther as it was made with a cast predominantly of color as well as directed by a person of color.”
Hampton touched on the film’s impact on students of color, saying “I think that seeing someone that looks like you in a role that isn’t a stereotypical role for people of color is quite powerful,” he said. “He’s the leader of the movie so you get to see him in that positive role. I think the movie’s complexity helps,” he said, referring to Chadwick Boseman’s character King T’Challa. He continued, “I think people want movies where the characters look like them, but are not just stereotypes.”
Hampton also spoke about his hopes for the film industry following the success of Black Panther, saying, “One thing I hope it does is challenge the assumption that people have had of movies that are predominantly of color.” He continued, “In the past, people would have thought a movie like [Black Panther] would only speak to one particular audience and assume it would not travel well into international markets.”
A number of big-budget blockbusters are slated to come out in the next few weeks so only time will tell if “Black Panther” can keep its number 1 spot.
Photo Courtesy of The New York Post