After the release of ‘Coming to America’ three decades ago, we all waited patiently for Hollywood to release another movie that portrayed Africa in all of its glory. Fair enough, there were one or two attempts, but none was able to hit the mark until Marvel Studios took the bar higher with the release of BLACK PANTHER.
From the trailer, Black Panther already raised the expectations of movie lovers and when the movie finally hit the big screens, a world classic was born. Within 24-hours of its release, Black Panther broke the record for highest ticket presales of all Marvel films. In the first weekend of its release, the movie made $192 million, 96% of its total budget. In less than two months, Black Panther grossed $1 billion at Global Box Office, becoming the highest-grossing superhero movie in the US and topped ‘Jurassic World’ as a fourth-highest grossing movie of all time.
Contrary to ‘Coming to America’ where Akeem, the Prince of Zamunda leaves his kingdom to find his bride in America, King T’Challa in Black Panther returns from America to the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda to serve his people after the death of his father. The plot tells of the weaknesses, fears, and challenges T’Challa face in his cause to protect his people and their way of life whilst opening up to the wider world who wanted to explore its resources – the vibranium.
Negative or positive, anyone who saw Black Panther had an opinion triggered by this storyline, the choice of cast, and the unique African intricacies. Many Americans thought that Black Panther is the grown-up Marvel movie they’ve been waiting for, some Chinese thought the movie was too black that it tortures their eyes, and for (many of) us in Africa, BLACK PANTHER was a damn good movie, thrilling enough to have us sit down and stare for two hours fifteen minutes, and African enough to have us walk out afterwards, very proud.
However, here is the real question: Thirty years later, COMING TO AMERICA remains one of the greatest classics of all time. Will we be able to say the same for BLACK PANTHER?