Black Panther's inspiring $192M weekend — in more ways than one

Black Panther has not only taken the box office by storm during its opening weekend, but has inspired movements ranging from fashion to voting.

Afro-centric superhero film is leading to movements in fashion, voting and random kindness

Danai Gurira, left, and Florence Kasumba, right, lead an army in Black Panther, a film going far beyond just a box office hit. (Marvel Studios)

Black Panther has not only taken the box office by storm during its opening weekend, but is inspiring movements in fashion, voting and even random acts of kindness.

The Marvel film, directed by Fruitvale Station and Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler, hit $192 million US in ticket sales in North America over the weekend.

The number, which is a preliminary estimate according to the website Box Office Mojo, makes Black Panther the fifth-biggest opening weekend ever (not accounting for inflation) behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers.

Black Panther, which had a budget of $200 million US, also beat 2016's Deadpool to become the highest-grossing February opening weekend and has a 97 per cent fresh rating on the audience-driven Rotten Tomatoes site.

It stars Chadwick Boseman as the lead character T'Challa, alongside a predominantly black cast including Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Lupita Nyong'o.

 The story revolves around the fictional, resource-rich East African nation of Wakanda.

Michael B. Jordan, left, and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther are part of a strong cast including Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya and Lupita Nyong'o. (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios)

Throughout the weekend, countless movie-goers around the world dressed in traditional and African-inspired clothing to see the film and celebrate its cultural reflections. And it's far from superhero "cosplay," says Kimberly McNair, an expert in clothing and black expressive culture.

"It's a matter of fact statement about diasporic blackness," said the University of Southern California scholar. "You get to articulate your blackness in relation to your nationality and clothing styles specific to your location as well as African cultures. That matters."

And it wasn't the only way people were connecting.

Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson, who's set to play the title role in Captain Marvel, sparked a pay-it-forward campaign online this week with a single tweet on Thursday.

Since then, Larson has been re-tweeting posts from around the world which have taken over her page, connecting people offering to pay for Black Panther tickets with those who might not be able to afford them.

And because the film is rife with political allusions to immigration, stereotypes and isolationism not long after U.S. President Donald Trump made derogatory comments about African nations, it's also providing an opportunity for some to capitalize on the inspiration for change.

An American activist group called the Electoral Justice Project is using screenings to encourage registration among black voters in the U.S. by promoting the hashtag WakandaTheVote and helping set up booths outside theatres.


Zulekha Nathoo

Digital/Broadcast reporter, L.A.

Zulekha Nathoo is a breaking news and entertainment reporter based in Los Angeles. From the Oscars to the Grammys, she's interviewed some of the biggest names in showbiz including Celine Dion and Denzel Washington. She also works on-air covering news events and spent more than a decade at CBC stations across Canada, including Toronto and Calgary. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @zulekhanathoo.

With files from the Associated Press