South Africans continue to fill up the cinemas this week re-breaking records set a week ago.
Black Panther, the 18th film in the Marvel Universe series, has lured 500 000 people to see it since it opened on Friday 16 February.
The film’s opening weekend – from February 16 to February 18 – made R16.8 million. This was the third biggest opening weekend in South African history – the first and second places are held by Furious 7 in 2015 and The Fate of the Furious last year, both of which had four-day opening weekends.
Black Panther had also just broken the record of the biggest Saturday box-office take in South African history on February 17. It broke its own record on Saturday February 24.
The box-office take overall since it opened less than two weeks ago is sitting at R40.4 million, and counting. The film with the biggest take currently on circuit is Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, which opened in the first week of January and since then has taken R60.5 million in seven weeks.
In East and West Africa, the audience response has been equally game-changing.
Across West Africa, the second weekend saw an increase from the record-setting four-day opening (which was the biggest opening in industry history) to record the biggest three-day weekend ever. Black Panther is already the highest grossing non-local film of all time in the region.
Similarly in East Africa, the film is the highest grossing film of all time in the region too.
In America, the film has banked R4.9 billion so far, since it opened on February 16.
For filmmakers, and more importantly their risk-averse investors and distributors, it shows that if you make what people want to see they will come.
And if the people come, the industry makes money, which we all hope will bring more variety in whose stories are told and who gets to tell them.
In the meantime though, in our cinema complexes, it is without doubt #WakandaForever.
1. Marvel’s Black Panther character made his debut in the comic book world in “Fantastic Four Vol. 1” Issue 52, published in 1966.
2. Led by Danai Gurira’s character, Okoye, the Dora Milaje security force features an international contingent of women from all over the world, including Florence Kasumba who returns to play Ayo, a character that first appeared in Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War. The Dora Milaje were cast from a pool of actresses, stunt women and Broadway dancers so that each individual Dora could have specialised skills that they brought to the table.
3. The cast and stunt team practiced with African drums played by musician Jabari Exum so that their movements would have a musical quality found in many African-based martial arts.
4. Actor Daniel Kaluuya learned how to ride a horse as practice to simulate riding W’Kabi’s armoured rhino in the film.
5. Young Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. While he shares the same last name with Forest Whitaker, who plays the older Zuri, they are not related. However, they did play father and son in Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters.
6. The cast did the bulk of the fight work that will be seen on film. Chadwick Boseman, whose skill set includes a comprehensive martial arts background, knew what he was in for when he and all the other actors had to attend a “boot camp” to prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles.
7. Michael B. Jordan, who plays Erik Killmonger, spent about two and a half hours in the special effects makeup chair every day, while makeup designer Joel Harlow and three other makeup artists applied close to 90 individually sculpted silicone molds to his upper body. This “scarification” application process entails transferring each mould and then blending and painting them to match Jordan’s skin tone. Each of Killmonger’s scars represents a “notch” of his kills over the years.
8. The Warrior Falls set was 37m x 23m in size. The set was 36’ tall, with the pool being six feet above ground level. That made the cliff faces 9m tall. Construction took about four months from start to finish.
9. More than 708 cubic metres of foam was used in the Warrior Falls set, which was sculpted to match the rocks in Oribi Gorge. On the set, the stunt team had to rig all of the cliff faces with mountain climbing gear to safely secure all of the extras on the cliff faces.