Having the biggest opening on a four-day weekend second only to Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not something that has been lost on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. Opening on February 16 and taking in $242 million over Presidents Day weekend in the US, Coogler was so moved by the outpouring of support for his new Black Panther film that he penned a letter to fans of the latest Marvel movie. That’s classy. That’s how we do it in Wakanda.
Sharing the letter with The Hollywood Reporter and later posting it on Twitter, Coogler, who previously directed Creed and Fruitvale Station, both starring Black Panther villain Michael B. Jordan, thanked fans and critics for their overwhelming support of the film.
“Never in a million years did we imagine that you all would come out this strong. It still humbles me to think that people care enough to spend their money and time watching our film,” writes Coogler. “But to see people of all backgrounds wearing clothing that celebrates their heritage, taking pictures next to our posters with their friends and family, and sometimes dancing in the lobbies of theaters – often moved me and my wife to tears.”
Noting that many celebrities, including Octavia Spencer, Serena Williams, Viola Davis, and Ellen DeGeneres, bought out movie theatres for young audiences who may have otherwise been unable to afford a movie ticket, Coogler continues, saying “For the people who bought out theaters, who posted on social about how lit the film would be, bragged about our awesome cast, picked out outfits to wear, and who stood in line in theaters all over the world – all before seeing the film…To the press who wrote about the film for folks who hadn’t yet seen it, and encouraged audiences to come out…And to the young ones, who came out with their parents, with their mentors, and with their friends…Thank you for giving our team of filmmakers the greatest gift: The opportunity to share this film, that we poured our hearts and souls into, with you.”
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) February 21, 2018
The success of Black Panther is largely unprecedented. It’s soundtrack, curated by Kendrick Lamar, debuted at number one over the weekend. The film is currently the best reviewed live action super hero movie ever made and has, in one weekend, shattered the long-held Hollywood myth that audiences would not pay to see a predominately black cast on screen. We’ll pay. Same goes for Asian, South Asian, Hispanic, Aboriginal, all-female casts, differently abled actors…should we continue?
In addition to critics voicing their love of the film, Black Panther also has some very big fans in the celebrity world, including former first lady Michelle Obama, who sent her congratulations to the Black Panther cast and crew.
Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team! Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) February 19, 2018
Oprah Winfrey used her famous lungs to celebrate Wakanda Foreverrrrrrr!
Just saw it with Stedman. It’s Phenomenal!! Layers and layers of it. Wakunda ForEveeeerrrr! #BlackPanther
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 18, 2018
Viola Davis couldn’t decide which hashtag to use, so she used them all.
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) February 19, 2018
Will Smith says he was almost brought to tears watching the film and we can relate.
I want to share something that Nelson Mandela said to me. . He said, “With the type of fame that you have attained it is important when you encounter your fans that you — Reach Your Hand Out and let them Feel Your Flesh. You have to prove to them that you are REAL — because people can not aspire to anything they do not believe is Real.” . So I say to you, Congratulations! Enjoy this Transcendent Moment. Go into the streets… Touch them… Let them know that you are real! . @chadwickboseman, @michaelbjordan @lupitanyongo @letitiawright @danaigurira @danielkaluuya @im.angelabassett @andyserkis @winstoncduke @sterlingkbrown @rmorrison @therealstanlee @ludwiggoransson @iamruthecarter #blackpanther . With Pure Delight WILL 🙂
It’s pretty rare to see actors promoting a film they’re not in, especially one in the same genre, but that’s the power of Black Panther. Thor himself was blown away by the latest Marvel film.
— Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) February 21, 2018
Deadpool was right there with him.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 17, 2018
Oscar winner and future Captain Marvel Brie Larson knows Black Panther was worth the ticket price.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and/or the ones you love is purchase some #BlackPanther tix. I know it’s expensive to go to the theater, but its worth it for this one. You will exit forever impacted.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) February 16, 2018
Get it, Black Panther.