Cinemas across the continent played host to guests dressing up, dancing and singing as the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe played out with a distinctly celebratory African story.
The film, which has become a cultural phenomenon both at home and across the globe, took in over R16.8 million at the South African Box Office with nearly 200 000 attendances for the three-day opening weekend 16-18 February. This debut ranks as the third biggest industry opening weekend ever in South Africa (and the second biggest industry opening weekend ever, excluding previews) as well as the biggest opening for a Marvel Studios film ever in South Africa. In addition, Black Panther scored the highest Saturday Box Office of all time in South Africa, with takings of over R6.9 million on 17 February.
Elsewhere on the continent, Black Panther has become the biggest industry opening weekend of all time in both East and West Africa, with the film continually trending on social media in the run up to the release and over the weekend.
This past Friday, Johannesburg played host to the Official South African Premiere of Black Panther, and welcomed Lupita Nypong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), local veteran actors Dr. John Kani (King T-Chaka) and Connie Chiume (Mining Tribe Elder) from the film, as well as South African personalities and celebrities taking to the blue carpet. The 700 guests were treated to a special recorded message from Director Ryan Coogler and Black Panther/T-Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman. Danai Gurira, who turned 40 just two days before, was serenaded by the packed auditorium as they sang Happy Birthday in Wakanda’s official language, isiXhosa. Local artist Loyiso Mkize also presented his specially-commissioned artwork on the night, entirely inspired by Black Panther. Images from the night’s event can be found here: www.image.net/blackpanthersouthafrica and B-roll footage is available upon request.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther in now in cinemas everywhere.