“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” swooped in over the weekend and saved a dreary box office. Moviegoers have been hesitant to spend money on films this fall, but they turned out for the second installment of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Black Panther” tale. “Wakanda Forever” raked in a whopping $180 million for its opening weekend (Nov. 11-13), the highest November debut ever for a film. And this happened even without the lead character, actor Chadwick Boseman, who played the “Black Panther” in the 2018 film before dying in August 2020 of colon cancer at 43.
Still, people plunked down nearly $14 per ticket to see the Ryan Coogler-directed “Wakanda Forever,” as it made the second highest box office this year, following “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which opened in May, CNBC reported.
Overseas, the Black superhero sequel collected an additional $150 million, The New York Times reported. But “Wakanda Forever” didn’t match the $202 million opening of the first “Black Panther” in February 2018. That film went on to ultimately make $700 million globally.
African-American and Hispanic moviegoers flocked to cinemas to see the film about a Black superhero. “Wakanda Forever” features a predominantly Black cast, but it also introduced several Hispanic actors.
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It also introduced a gay character, which did not sit well with China. In the film, the character Aneka is queer and is in love with her fellow warrior Ayo. Due to this storyline, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the latest Marvel Studios film to be banned in China, Insider reported.
Black America had plenty to say about “Wakanda Forever”–good and bad.
“I loveddddd Wakanda. Beautiful tribute to Chadwick and Letitia is my hero. She was so cool and just ready at every moment! Angela was also incredible, I now have another scene to impersonate! I just loved it at all, truly,” praised actress Keke Palmer on Twitter.
Some took note of the film’s female focus.
“Wakanda Forever was a whole coherent movie about colonialism, patriarchy, race, and power without Black men or White men in charge of anything. A nice study on how feminism can so neatly calcify colonial, patriarchal, racial, and power relations,” Irami Osel-Frimpong tweeted.
“Sitting through 2 hours, 40 minutes of Black Panther 2 was torture. Let me save you the time. The movie hates black men, America, and the patriarchy. Racial idolatry is its selling point. Nothing else,” blasted sports journalist Jason Whitlock.
For others, complaining about the film’s feminist slant was a non-argument.
“Before this black panther movie dropped a lot of y’all was spewing bullshit like this movie is about ‘feminism over masculinity’ I would just like to say y’all can now SHUT THE FUCK UP cause yall look n sound dumb as fuck. Fake woke ass black Americans need to quit the bullshit,” tweeted the Twitter account name @bzejohnny.
Political analyst Boyce Watkins said there was a deeper, more disturbing aspect of the film. He tweeted, “I am watching #BlackPanther2 and I’ve concluded that #Disney chose to model this film after the fatherless black family where women are forced to become masculine protectors. This doesn’t make much space for the black male. Women and men are not the same. We need each other.
Others though the new film topped the original.
“Wakanda Forever isn’t as good as Black Panther….it’s better. It’s The Godfather Part II of Marvel Movies. You won’t fully appreciate the full accomplishment and possibilities until you have the ability, on streaming, to watch them back to back like you would a series,” noted Cheo Hodari Coker, a American former music journalist turned television writer and producer known for such television series as “Luke Cage,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Southland” and “Ray Donovan.”
American Descendants of Slavery co-founder Yvette Carnell tweeted that the film was full of propaganda. “Y’all can go play Wakanda, wear your lil costumes, & fantasize about The Motherland, but understand that cinema is often a tool 4 delivering propaganda. Sometimes that propaganda is positive. Other times, it’s purely erasure/ahistorical/revisionist,” she posted.
Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Marvel.com, https://www.marvel.com/movies/black-panther-wakanda-forever