this is big: black panther just beat titanic's record
The Black Panther revolution.
Stills from Black Panther and Titanic
Black Panther’s been smashing records left, right, centre, upside down, inside out, 13 degrees west of true north. As we wrote all the way back in February, it was “the fifth biggest opening film ever in the US, the highest February opening weekend ever, the largest winter season opening weekend ever, the largest President’s weekend opening ever, the largest Thursday preview gross ever and the largest Monday film ever.”
But wait, there’s more. Last week it became the first film to be shown in Saudi Arabia for 35 years, and today it became the third highest-grossing film ever in the North American box office. This is no mean feat, given that the film it ousted from this prized position is the perennial favourite of both hopeless romantics and maritime disaster enthusiasts alike, Titanic. Hypebeast reports that where Titanic made around $659.4 million USD, Black Panther raked in $665.4 million USD. Now it only sits behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.7 million), and Avatar ($760.5 million).
To reiterate: this is phenomenal. Titanic stars two major white stars in a very white story: an extremely privileged woman sets off on a long boat ride in a very cushy first-class cabin, escapes her overbearing family to ‘rough it’ down in the lower classes with a man with a phenomenally symmetrical face, who then learns the correct way to use approximately 12 pieces of cutlery in a multi-course meal, but not how to fit two people on to a massive door in a freezing ocean. Please, enjoy this 54 second cut of every person of colour who speaks in the 3 hour, 15 minute long film:
Black Panther is the antithesis of this. It stars a predominantly black cast playing superheroes, its Afrofuturist focus bulldozing tired white tropes of the genre and subverting stereotypes. To quote Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, it is, quite frankly, “a radical fuck you”. To see it replace Titanic in such a tangible way is a reassuring marker of progress. It proves that diverse films can, and do, pull crowds. Which shouldn’t be surprising -- but given Hollywood’s white-dominated history (and, unfortunately, present), a strong reminder doesn’t go amiss.
And honestly, can you imagine King T’Challa not realising there’s actually enough room for about four people on that door? No.