Marvel Studios’ Black Panther bounded to success at the President’s Day box office, notching $242 million domestically over the four-day weekend – the second-highest such opening behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the biggest ever debut for a black director. In a triumph that could impact onscreen representation, its $184.6 million overseas total disproves a long-held industry myth that films with black casts underperform overseas.
The Ryan Coogler-directed action flick beat expectations to score the fifth biggest North American debut of all time. Even with an eye watering $200 million production budget and an estimated $150 million more spent on publicity, the tentpole it set to recoup its costs.
Black Panther follows T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) as he is crowned king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced nation in Africa rich in the valuable metal vibranium. Alongside a cast including Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker, he must protect the throne from an outside challenger: the Oakland, California-raised Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
The comic book adaptation has already become the top-grossing film with a predominantly black cast. It outperformed hits from yesteryear such as Martin Lawrence and Will Smith’s Bad Boys series and Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America, the latter of which grossed $288.8 million in 1988.
Given that North American theater attendance dipped 6% in 2017, international markets have become ever more important. But movies with black casts have long struggled with the lore that they don’t perform well overseas. Take 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, which notched just 20% of its $201.6 million gross internationally, or Get Out, which scored less than a third of its $176 million worldwide gross overseas.
Black Panther destroys that assumption: Its $184.6 million overseas tally already accounts for 43% of its total gross, putting its international performance on track with other Marvel movies which can often double their domestic take overseas.
“Audiences deserve to see themselves reflected on the big screen,” Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told the Hollywood Reporter. “Beyond being the right thing to do, it makes for richer storytelling.”
In recent years, movements such as #OscarsSoWhite have drawn attention to the lack of representation onscreen. Black characters comprised just 13.6% of characters of the top-grossing films in 2016, while white characters accounted for 70.8% of characters, according to a 2017 study by USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change initiative. That inequity was mirrored behind camera, too, where black directors made up just 5.6% of helmers. But far more black characters were found onscreen in movies with a black director than when a non-black director was in the seat.
Studios have begun taking steps to balance projects on both sides of the camera – and it’s boosting bottom lines. Last year, Warner Bros.’ female fronted and helmed Wonder Woman grossed $821.8 million worldwide on a $149 million budget, while Universal’s Girls Trip, with four black stars and a black director, managed $140 million on a $19 million budget.
Disney has been leading the charge. Beyond Black Panther, it signed up Ava DuVernay to direct the forthcoming A Wrinkle in Time, starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Peña and Mindy Kaling. Its 2017 cartoon offering, Coco, explored the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead as voiced by Latino actors.
“The world has embraced Black Panther, which has obliterated expectations, broken records and shattered myths,” tweeted Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger.
Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, nabbing its character universe – which includes the Hulk, Thor, Captain America and now Black Panther – that make Marvel’s Cinematic Universe the highest-grossing franchise of all time.
Working within the framework of a superhero action movie, Black Panther focuses exclusively on black, African and African-American identities. The few white characters onscreen are not fleshed out and serve as little more than foils to the black protagonists – a refreshing reversal from Hollywood tropes that tokenize black characters, such as the black best friend.
In the U.S., Black Panther‘s diverse cast was reflected in its audience. Some 37% of moviegoers were African-American, per ComsCore, compared to just 15% on usual superhero movies, reflecting a pent-up demand for a black superhero. Women also turned out in droves, accounting for 45% of all ticket buyers.
As the movie continues its international rollout, Disney will be hoping that for theater goers, it’s Wakanda forever. – Written by ,
HUGO BOSS Partners With Porsche To Bring Action-Packed Racing Experience Through Formula E
Brought to you by Hugo Boss
HUGO BOSS and Porsche have partnered to bring an action-packed racing experience to the streets of the world’s major cities through Formula E.
Formula E is known for its fascinating races globally. The partnership will have a strong focus on the future of motorsport. In doing so the races will host a unique series for the development of electric vehicle technology, refining the design, functionality and sustainability of electric cars while creating an exciting global entertainment brand.
HUGO BOSS which boasts a long tradition of motorsports sponsorship – has been successfully engaged in the electric-powered racing series since the end of 2017.
In this collaboration, HUGO BOSS brings its 35 years of experience and expertise in the motorsport arena to Formula E, as well as the dynamic style the fashion brand is renowned for.
Mark Langer HUGO BOSS, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says that though they have been working successfully with motorsports over the years, he is exceptionally pleased that as a fashion brand they are taking the cooperation to new heights.
“As a fashion brand, we are always looking at innovative approaches to design and sustainability. When we first encountered Formula E, we immediately saw its potential and we are pleased to be the first apparel partner to support this exciting new motorsport series,” he says.
The fashion group is also the official outfitter to the entire Porsche motorsports team worldwide.
The fascination with perfect design and innovation, along with the Porshe and Hugo Boss shared passion for racing, inspired Hugo Boss to produce the Porsche x Boss capsule collection.
Its standout features include premium leather and wool materials presented in the Porsche and HUGO BOSS colors of silver, black and red.
Since March, a range of menswear styles from the debut capsule collection is available online and at selected BOSS stores. In South Africa the first pieces of the capsule will come as a part of the FW 19 collection.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E says he is confident that the racers will put their best foot forward on the racecourse.
“This new partnership will see the team on the ground at each race dressed with a winning mindset and ready to deliver a spectacular event in cities across the world. As the first Official Apparel Partner of the series, we look forward to seeing the dynamic style and innovation on show that BOSS is renowned for,” says Agag.
Oliver Blume CEO of Porsche AG says Formula E is an exceptionally attractive racing series for motorsport vehicles to develop.
“It offers us the perfect environment to strategically evolve our vehicles in terms of efficiency and sustainability. We’re looking forward to being on board in the 2019/2020 season. In this context, the renowned fashion group HUGO BOSS represents the perfect partner to outfit our team.”
Taking A Bite Out Of Africa
Subscribe to Forbes
Forbes Africa | 8 Years And Growing
How Virtual Therapy Apps Are Trying To Disrupt The Mental Health Industry
Having A Ball With Data
The $100 Trillion Opportunity: The Race To Provide Banking To The World’s Poor
Owning The African Narrative
Focus4 weeks ago
No Seat At The Global Table For Indigenous African Cuisine
Brand Voice3 weeks ago
FOCUS ON CAMEROON: The Heart Of Africa Unleashing Its Potential From Within
Arts3 weeks ago
Can Diddy’s Ciroc Recipe Work On Alkaline Water?
7 Questions With...2 weeks ago
‘The One Thing I Want To Do Before I Die’
Economy4 weeks ago
Why The High Number Of Employees Quitting Reveals A Strong Job Market
Focus4 weeks ago
How LinkedIn Is Looking To Help Close The Ever-Growing Skills Gap
Technology2 weeks ago
AI 50 Founders Say This Is What People Get Wrong About Artificial Intelligence
Entrepreneurs2 weeks ago
Owning The African Narrative