Yup, the puns are back, but for good reason.
Black Panther has now entered the list of the top ten highest grossing films ever, taking over Frozen. With $1.277bn to its name, just under $651m of that coming from the domestic gross, Marvel and Disney certainly have a lot to celebrate. Give it another $55m or so and it’ll overtake Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Black Panther has been breaking box office records left and right. It’s easily the highest grossing film of 2018 so far, at least half a billion dollars ahead of its closest rival. It’s the 5th highest grossing film in North America (although some reports already have it at number 4, past Jurassic World) and it held onto the number one spot at the box office even against supposedly tough competition like Tomb Raider. It soared past The Avengers to become the highest grossing film domestically in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The domestic gross of Titanic was just over $660m. Surely it won’t be long before it passes that?
The film’s also fared well in China. Remember, one of the bullshit excuses Hollywood studios used to keep black actors out of major roles was the insistence that such things wouldn’t sell well in China. You know, the country that loves the Fast and Furious franchise.
So what does this mean for the film and the future? Well, if this didn’t kill the ‘oh but diversity doesn’t sell’ crap, nothing will. It also further strengthens Disney’s stranglehold on pop culture, praise be with the benevolent mouse. It gives director Ryan Coogler the ability to basically do whatever the hell he wants with his career, a prospect that isn’t open to a whole lot of black directors. It also means that Avengers: Infinity War could have a fight on its hands to be the biggest film of the year, something we’ve been all but assuming for months now. The Avengers films tend to fare best with wider audiences and this is the ultimate accumulation of that Marvel universe, so it seems likely that it’s still the movie to bet in 2018. But will it command the loyalty Black Panther has? This is a movie people have been returning to time and time again since its release.
So yeah, Wakanda forever! The Oscar campaign starts now. And believe me, Disney is definitely planning one.
(Header photograph of Chadwick and Lupita glory courtesy of Getty Images)